The Desk

Medical Students Relieved as SC Issues Order in PG NEET Case

DESK BRIEF: The SC issued an Order allowing the Union to immediately commence counselling for admissions to postgraduate medical programmes.

Spurred by nationwide doctor’s protests by doctor, the Supreme Court issued an Order allowing the Union Government to immediately commence counselling for admissions to postgraduate medical programmes. Admissions to PG medical programmes will finally be conducted with 27% OBC reservations and 10% EWS reservations for this academic year. The news comes as a relief to students of the 2021-22 batch whose admissions have been delayed for over a year.

This delay in admissions had caused a shortfall of nearly 60,000 doctors in hospitals across the country —  a particularly alarming situation in light of the Third Wave of COVID-19. The shortfall in doctors was overburdening already overwhelmed frontline workers.

In July last year, the Union Government had notified reservations for OBC and EWS candidates under the All India Quota (AIQ) for PG NEET students. These reservations were challenged on the grounds that they exceeded the 50% limit on reservations. Further, the ₹ 8 Lakh income limit set for EWS candidates was not based on empirical data. The Court had been hearing the matter since September 2021.

In the Order today, the Court gave three important directions. First, the 27% OBC reservations under the AIQ is constitutional and may be applied this year as well as in subsequent PG NEET exams. Second, in order to ensure no further delay admissions, the reservations would be temporarily implemented for the 2021-2022 PG NEET admissions. Finally, the income criteria set at ₹ 8 lakhs for EWS reservations would be reconsidered for future admissions. The Court will hear the matter again in March 2022.