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NEET-PG Counselling : Centre Decides To Retain Existing EWS Criteria; Files Affidavit In Supreme Court

Shruti Kakkar
1 Jan 2022 6:49 PM GMT
NEET-PG Counselling : Centre Decides To Retain Existing EWS Criteria; Files Affidavit In Supreme Court
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In the cases related to the NEET-PG counselling, the Central Government told the Supreme Court that it has decided to retain the existing criteria for the Economically Weaker Section(EWS) reservation in the All India Quota, on the basis of the recommendations made by the expert committee.Changing the EWS criteria midway will lead to complications, opined the Committee. The Committee...

In the cases related to the NEET-PG counselling, the Central Government told the Supreme Court that it has decided to retain the existing criteria for the Economically Weaker Section(EWS) reservation in the All India Quota, on the basis of the recommendations made by the expert committee.

Changing the EWS criteria midway will lead to complications, opined the Committee. The Committee recommended the introduction of revised EWS criteria from the next academic year. The Centre said in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court that it has accepted these recommendations.

As far as revisions in the EWS criteria, the Committee has 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. But the Committee recommended that these revisions be applied from the next academic year.

In the affidavit dated December 31, 2021, the Central Government has told the Supreme Court that it has accepted the recommendations of the Committee for Revisiting The Criteria Of The Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Reservation for making the candidates of those families whose annual income is upto Rs 8 lakh eligible for EWS reservation but excluding a person whose family has 5 acres of agricultural land and above from EWS irrespective of income.

The Committee has further recommended removing the criteria with regards to residential assets.

The affidavit has been filed in the batch of writ petitions challenging the Centre's decision to introduce EWS/OBC reservation in the All India Quota for NEET.

On November 25, 2021, the Solicitor General of India had submitted before the Top Court that the Central Government had decided to revisit the Rupees 8 lakh annual income limit set for determining the Economically Weaker Sections(EWS) and would take a fresh decision within four weeks by formulating a Committee. This was after the Supreme Court made prima facie observations that the Rupees 8 lakh income limit for EWS was arbitrary. A bench led by Justice Chandrachud opined that applying the same income limit uniformly across the country would be arbitrary. The bench also questioned the basis for adopting the same income limit(Rs 8 lakh) for OBC- creamy layer for EWS as well, when the latter has no concept of social and educational backwardness.

The Centre had told the Court that the counselling for NEET-PG admissions will not commence when the quota issue was pending adjudication.

Later, the Central Government had formulated a Committee for revisiting the criteria of the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation on November 30, 2021 comprising:

  1. Shri Ajay Bhusan Pandey- Former Finance Secretary, GOI
  2. Prof VK Malhotra- Member Secretary, ICSSR
  3. Shri Sanjeev Sanyal- Principal Economic Advisor to GOI (Member Convenor)

In the Report on Review of the Criteria for EWS Reservation, the Committee has also opined that disturbing the existing system which is on going since 2019 at the fag end would create more complications than expected both for the beneficiaries as well as for the authorities. In this regard the Committee has recommended introducing the new criteria from the next academic year.

"Under these circumstances, it is completely unadvisable and impractical to apply the new criteria (which are being recommended in this report) and change the goal post in the midst of the ongoing processes resulting in inevitable delay and avoidable complications. When the existing system is ongoing from 2019, no serious prejudice would be caused if it continues for this year as well. Changing the criteria midway is also bound to result in spate Of litigations In various courts across the country by the people/persons whose eligibility would change suddenly.

The Committee, therefore, after analysing the pros and cons on this issue and after giving serious consideration, recommends that the existing and on- going criteria in every on-going process where EWS reservation is available, be continued and the criteria recommended in this Report may be made applicable from next advertisement / admission cycle," Committee had said the report in this regards.

Based on the recommendations, the Central Government has agreed to accept the Committee's recommendation of applying the new criteria prospectively.

It may be noted that resident doctors across the country had launched protests across the country recently against the delay in NEET-PG counselling. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on January 6.

The Centre's affidavit came in the case  Neil Aurelio Nunes and others vs Union of India and others which has been filed through Dubey Law Associates and Dr. Charu Mathur Advocate-on-Record.



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