Day 4 Oral HearingsOBC & EWS Reservation in Postgraduate Medical Admissions
On November 25th 2021, a three-judge bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Surya Kant began the fourth day of hearings in four writ petitions challenging reservations of the All India Quota (AIQ) seats in medical postgraduate courses through the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET).
On July 19th 2021, the Union notified that it will reserve 27% of AIQ seats for Other Backward Classes (OBC) students and 10% of AIQ seats for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) students. The petitioners in the AIQ-NEET cases are doctors and students who claim that the Union’s notification amounts to ‘reverse discrimination’ against general category applicants. Read more details of the case here.
Union Government to Re-formulate EWS Criteria
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Union government, informed the Bench that the government had decided to constitute a committee to revisit the ₹8 lakh criteria for EWS reservations. According to Mr. Mehta, this exercise would take four weeks. Counselling for students writing the NEET examination would also be put on hold during this period.
In light of the Union government’s decision to revisit EWS, Senior Advocate Arvind Datar suggested that NEET counselling and admissions be allowed to continue, with the application of EWS reservations being pushed to next year.
Chandrachud J responded that this was a matter for the Union to decide. Mr. Mehta was hesitant about such a measure. He expressed concern about deferring a constitutional amendment, which should only be done as a last resort.
Chandrachud J clarified that they were only speaking about the explanation to Article 15 inserted by the amendment and not the entire Article. Further, he suggested that the Union consider applying the EWS reservations from next year. This is because delaying the counselling process by another four weeks would delay the college term, and cause the students to lose time.
The matter was listed to be heard next on January 6th 2022.