NEET PG Quota hearing deferred to January 2022
New Delhi, India: Counseling for the 1.6 lakh applicants who took the NEET PG 2021 exam is likely to be delayed by a month since the EWS quota case, which was pending before the Supreme Court, has now been rescheduled for January 6th, 2022.
While the case is still before the Supreme Court, the center stated in a hearing held on October 25th that it will not administer NEET PG counseling till the Supreme Court rules on the issue.
According to a recent report by Livelaw, the matter has been postponed since the center has decided to examine the Rs 8 lakh yearly income cap set for defining the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). Within four weeks, a new decision will be made.
As a result, MBBS doctors who were banking on the Supreme Court’s decision on the OBC and EWS reservation policies will have to wait another four weeks to find out when the PG medical admissions process for this academic year would begin.
The NEET PG 2021 examination, which is the universal entrance examination for getting admission to postgraduate medical institutions across India, attracted over 1.6 lakh participants.
A number of petitions were filed in the Supreme Court contesting the Centre’s and Medical Counselling Committee’s (MCC) July 29th notification offering 27% OBC and 10% EWS reservation for PG Medical admissions via NEET PG Counselling 2021.
The Central Government had informed the Supreme Court that no NEET PG counselling would be undertaken till the EWS quota issue was settled. The judges, led by Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna, underlined the Centre’s guarantee and warned that if the counselling process begins before the court makes a ruling, “kids will be in serious trouble.”
The court had already asked the Centre to reconsider the Rs 8 lakh annual income limit for calculating the EWS category for reservation in medical admissions via NEET PG Counseling on October 21st. The Central Government has also justified its decision on the case on October 26. In addition, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said in an affidavit that the principle of establishing the amount is reasonable and consistent with Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitution.
It was decided that the matter would be heard on November 23, 2021, and the candidates were also hopeful that the dates for the counselling process would be released as well.
However, the matter was postponed to 25th November.
Now, as the matter was taken today, the Central Government told the Supreme Court that it has decided to revisit the Rupees 8 lakh annual income limit set for determining the EWS and will take a fresh decision within 4 weeks.
The Centre has further assured that the counselling for NEET admissions will be deferred for a further period of four weeks till a fresh decision is taken on EWS criteria, reports Livelaw.
The Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta submitted before the Court, “In the matter I have instruction to say that the govt has decide to revisit the criteria. We will formulate a committee and take a fresh decision within 4 weeks. Till then the counselling shall remain stayed only. I give my assurance”.
In response, the counsel appearing for the petitioners suggested that the implementation of the EWS could be postponed to the next academic year, as the admissions for this year are already delayed.
Taking note of the development, the bench of honourable Justice DY Chandrachud, the presiding judge asked the Solicitor General if this option could be explored. “Whatever you may want to do probably apply for the next year.. you see, we are in the middle of November”, the bench asked.
On this, the counsel replied that it might be a difficult proposition as the Government wants to take steps as per the Constitutional Amendment providing for economic reservation.
The bench recorded in the order that the assurance given by the Centre regarding deferral of counselling will continue and posted the petitions for hearing on January 6, 2022.
The Solicitor General assured the bench that efforts will be taken to take a decision on EWS criteria as soon as possible.
Advocate Vivek Singh pointed out to the bench that in a connected matter, in which he is being led by Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, the challenge is also with regards to reservation for 27% OBC. The bench told him that it has not expressed anything about OBC reservation till now.
Meanwhile, the doctors across the country have started urging the concerned authorities to expedite the matter. So far, doctors under the umbrella of the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) and Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) have approached the Chief Justice of India and urged to expedite the hearing of the pending case. FAIMA had also launched a Twitter Storm supporting the cause and demanding expedition on the NEET PG counseling process.