The Supreme Court on Thursday posted the petitions challenging the validity of criteria of Rupees 8 Lakhs annual income limit as the upper limit for seeking Economically Weaker Sections(EWS) reservation in the All India Quota for NEET admissions for July.
The petitions were listed before the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha.
When the matter was called for hearing, Justice Chandrachud told Senior Advocate Arvind Datar that the matter would now be heard after the summer vacations.
Apprising the bench that the NEET PG 2022-23 would be conducted soon again, Datar submitted that the issue before the court now was only with regards to the income criteria of 8 lakhs.
"2nd exams are being held. May I request 1 thing, now the only short point is whether 8 lakhs is applicable or not. What they've done is they have lifted 8 lakhs from the creamy layer(for OBC quota) and adopted it here. We have shown that there is a huge disparity in the per capita income," Datar submitted.
He further urged the bench to consider the same during the vacations.
Justice Chandrachud however said, "It'll have to be heard in a combination of 3. We'll keep it on the reopening. We'll keep it in July. we'll give a date immediately."
It may be noted that the Top Court on January 7, 2022 had allowed the commencement of counselling process for NEET-PG and NEET-UG for 2021-22 admissions on the basis of the existing 27% quota for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections(EWS) in the All India Quota. The Court upheld the constitutionality of 27% OBC reservation. As regards criteria to determine EWS (Rupees 8 lakhs gross annual income cut-off), the Court allowed the existing criteria to operate for the current admission year so as to not delay the admission process further.
While allowing the same, the Top Court had listed the matter with regards to the criteria determined by the Pandey committee for identifying the EWS prospectively for the future for March, 2022.
The Committee, which was formulated by the Center for revisiting the criteria of the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation, had recommended the retention of the annual income criteria of Rupees 8 lakhs but recommended the exclusion of family who has agricultural land of 5 acres and above, irrespective of income. The Committee has further recommended removing the criteria with regards to residential assets. But the Committee recommended that these revisions be applied from the next academic year.
Case Title: Neil Aurelio Nunes & Ors v Union of India and Ors, Yash Tekwani and Ors v. Medical Counseling Committee and Ors, Madhura Kavishwar and Ors v Union of India and Anr, Apurv Satish Gupta and Anr v Union of India and Ors, Christina Ann Thomas and Ors v Union of India and Ors