Day 7 Oral Hearing: EWS Res for PG NEETOBC & EWS Reservation in Postgraduate Medical Admissions (PG NEET)
On February 14th, 2022, the Supreme Court briefly heard PG NEET 2022 candidates seeking clarity on the criteria for EWS reservations in NEET 2022-2023. Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant reiterated that reservations in NEET 2022-2023 will be in accordance with the Judgment the Court will reach after hearing arguments in Neil Aurelio Nunes in March 2022.
The Supreme Court, through an Interim Order dated January 7th 2022, permitted the Union government’s Rs.8 Lakh annual income criteria to be used for EWS reservations in PG NEET 2021. This was done to ensure that new resident doctors could be appointed to quickly fill vacancies in hospitals before the Third Wave peaked. However, the validity of the Rs. 8 lakhs limit for future admissions remains pending and is scheduled to be heard in March.
Soon after the Court delivered the Interim Order, the Union government issued an Information Bulletin for PG NEET 2022-2023. The Bulletin states that candidates must register for reserved seats as per the Rs. 8 lakh criteria and that they will not be permitted to change their registration category after February 4th, 2022. PG NEET 2022 candidates approached the Supreme Court seeking an extension in this deadline.
Senior Advocate Arvind Datar and AOR Dr. Charu Mathur, appearing for the candidates, argued that it was incorrect to set the registration deadline before the Court had decided the validity of the EWS criteria. Dr. Mathur pointed out that the Information Bulletin makes no reference to the pending Judgment.
Chandrachud J stated that even without such reference, the Union was bound to follow the Court’s Judgment in this matter. The Bench reassured the candidates that reservations in PG NEET 2022 will be strictly in accordance with the outcome of the March 2022 hearing.
The Bench granted Mr. Datar and Dr. Mathur permission to withdraw the petition and file it as an intervention application in Neil Aurelio Nunes. This will enable the Court to hear this matter along with the main case in March.