'What Is Left For General Category?': Petitioners Challenging OBC/EWS Quota In NEET-AIQ Argue; Supreme Court To Hear On October 7

Update: 2021-09-24 13:20 GMT

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to file its counter within 2 weeks in writ petitions challenging Centre's notification of granting 27% reservation for OBC and 10% for EWS in 50% All India Quota seats in admission to medical courses through the NEET exam.The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna directed the Union's counter to be filed by October 6 and posted...

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The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to file its counter within 2 weeks in writ petitions challenging Centre's notification of granting 27% reservation for OBC and 10% for EWS in 50% All India Quota seats in admission to medical courses through the NEET exam.
The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna directed the Union's counter to be filed by October 6 and posted the batch of petitions for hearing on October 7. One of the petitions also challenge the Rupees 8 lakh ceiling limit fixed for determining EWS category for reservation in NEET-AIQ.
Court Room Exchange

When the matter was called for hearing, Justice Chandrachud, Presiding Judge of the bench asked Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj appearing for the Union to apprise the Court about the time that would be taken to file counter affidavits.

The ASG replied that he would require 4 weeks time.

Objecting to the time taken by the Centre for filing its Counter, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan representing the petitioners in the writ filed by Dr Madhura Kavishwar submitted that results would be declared in two weeks and requested for grant of an interim relief.

"The results will be out and counselling will start. Doctors will be posted in different villages. The exam was to be conducted earlier & now in July they've changed the rules," Senior Advocate Arvind Datar representing the petitioners in the writ filed by Dr Neil Auerlio Nunes added.

While posting the matter to be heard on October 7, 2021 Justice Chandrachud asked the Senior Counsels to apprise the bench of the points on which the Senior Counsels would argue.

"My main argument will be that the administrative direction is unconstitutional since there is a consistent view starting from Dr Pradip Jain v Union of India and other judgements which state that there ought not to be reservation at all in the All India Quota," submitted Senior Advocate Shyam Divan.

To substantiate his contention on the interlocutory relief that Senior Counsel was seeking, he argued :"The exam date was announced in July and then the impugned notice was issued in July. So far as this year is concerned, it cannot be done since it sucks away 2500 seats from the general quota".

Senior Advocate Arvind Datar submitted that in his petition he had also challenged the constitutionality of the income limit of Rs 8 lakh per annum for EWS Category.

Averring that the income limit of Rupees Eight Lakh per annum for EWS category was legally flawed as it had been taken without any basis, Datar added, "We will challenge 8 lakh criteria. Why not 7.5 lakh? They will have to give some criteria. In a country like India, you cannot have this cut off. 50% OBC, SC, ST & 10% EWS - what would be left for the general category? " Senior Counsel added.

"The Hindu reported that out of 1224 seats, very few were left. That is why we're challenging this," Senior Counsel also submitted.

It was also his contention that another question that would be raised would be with regards to whether 10% reservation would apply vertically or horizontally.

Referring to Article 15(6) of the Constitution of India, Justice Chandrachud said,

"Until the Constitution Bench deals with the reference of Indira Sahani, we'll have to assume that the provision stands as it is. Explanation allows them to implement it by identifying EWS & other factors".

Along with these petitions, the bench considered the petition filed by the Union Government challenging the Madras High Court's observations against EWS Quota in NEET-AIQ. The Supreme Court passed a separate order to set aside those observations of the Madras High Court.

Details of the petition.
The following petitions were listed :

Plea by Dr Neil Aurelio Nunes filed through Advocate Charu Mathur and Dubey Law Associates challenging the amended reservation policy (27% OBC and 10% EWS) in the All India Quota category scheme by the Central Government for UG and PG medical/dental courses as released vide notification dated July 29, 2021 by the Medical Counselling Committee. The petition had also sought a stay on the effect and operation of the July 29 notification and for issuing directions for the constituting committee of experts to examine modalities relating to the current reservation policy. Writ petition by Nunes also sought to declare the One Hundred and Third (Amendment) Act, 2019 ("Amendment Act'') and income limit of Rs 8 lakh per annum for EWS Category as unconstitutional.

Plea Dr Yash Tekwani filed through Advocate Charu Mathur and Dubey Law Associates seeking Supreme Court's directions to quash the July 29, 2021 notification which provided for implementation of the prescribed reservation criteria with effect from the current academic year.

Plea by Dr Madhura Kavishwar filed through Advocate Vivek Singh challenging Centre's notification dated July 29, 2021 providing 27% reservation for OBC and 10% for EWS in All India Quota in admission to Postgraduate medical courses on the ground that it was in direct contravention of the Top Court's judgement in Union of India v R Rajeshwaran & Ors (2003) 9 SCC 294 and Union of India v K Jayakumar & Anr (2008) 17 SCC 478 in which the Court had held that requirement of reservation should not apply to seats of All India Quota.

The Top Court also issued notice in the writ by Dr Apurv Satish Gupta filed through Advocate Subodh S Patil which sought quashing of Centre's decision to introduce 27% reservation quota for OBC and 10% quota for EWS Category in 15% UG Quota and 50% PG quota in All India Medical seats in the State Government Medical Institutions being ultra vires to Constitution of India (102nd) Amendment Act, 2018 by notice dated July 29, 2021 through Director General of Health Services from Academic Year 2021-2022. The petition had also sought ex parte stay on the operation of notice dated July 29, 2021 issued by Director General of Health Services till the disposal of the case.

Counsel appearing for Dr Apurva Satish Gupta, submitted that,

"I have raised a point that 102nd CAA mandates that a list is to be notified for OBC's. The same has not been notified till now. Justice Rohini's commission has been appointed."

Case Titles: Neil Aurelio Nunes and Ors v Union of India and Ors; Yash Tekwani and Ors v Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) and Ors

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