New Delhi: The Centre has told the Supreme Court to postpone NEET counselling for four weeks until decides on criteria for determining EWS category. The Centre added that it has taken a considered decision to revisit the limit of Rs. 8 Lakh annual income fixed for determining the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category for reservation in NEET admissions for Post-Graduate medical courses.
A bench consisting of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that a committee will be constituted to determine the criteria for EWS and it would take four weeks.
According to an IANS report, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who is representing the Centre assured a bench that the counselling for NEET won’t take place until then.
Mehta submitted that in the matter, “I have instruction to say that the government has decided to revisit the criteria… We will decide within four weeks.”
The bench observed that the EWS reservation is a progressive and pragmatic reservation, and the only question is whether it should be horizontal or vertical. The bench suggested that the Centre may apply for it next year. Mehta submitted that he will need to take instructions on that. Justice Chandrachud pointed out that it is the end of November.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing the petitioners, submitted that the question is whether Rs 70,000 income per month can be called EWS to which Justice Kant that the aspect of limit can be worked out.
The top court, in its order, said: “Centre has taken a decision to revisit the criteria determining the EWS in terms of provisions of explanation to Article 15 of the Constitution, inserted by the 103rd Amendment Act 2019.”
Last month, the Supreme Court had questioned the Centre over adopting the criteria of OBC creamy layer of Rs 8 lakh annual income for granting reservations under the economic weaker section (EWS), despite the latter not suffering from social and educational backwardness.
“You are making unequal equal by applying the Rs eight lakh limit”, the top court told Centre, quoted IANS.
According to the IANS report, After writ petitions challenging 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10 per cent reservation for EWS in all-India Quota seats for postgraduate medical courses. As many as 15 per cent seats in MBBS and 50 per cent seats in MS and MD courses are filled through All India Quota (AIQ) from the candidates selected through NEET.
In an affidavit, the Centre told Supreme Court that its decision to fix the Rs 8 lakh income limit for the OBC and economically weaker section (EWS) is not arbitrary in the NEET All India Quota, and it was finalised after considering diverse economic factors in different states. The affidavit added that the determination of Rs 8 lakh income limit is arrived at after taking into consideration the diverse economic factors in different states as also the diverse economic status between the rural and urban areas.
The next date of hearing has been fixed for January 6, 2021.
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