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NEET PG- Centre's Criteria For Determining EWS Completely Arbitrary; No Study Done: Senior Advocate Arvind Datar

Mehal Jain
5 Jan 2022 1:22 PM GMT
NEET PG- Centres Criteria For Determining EWS Completely Arbitrary; No Study Done: Senior Advocate Arvind Datar
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Senior Advocate Arvind Datar on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the basis of the Centre's criteria for determining EWS for the purpose of reservation in the NEET-AIQ- of the cut-off income of Rs. 8 lakh and of property assets- is completely arbitrary."The fundamental question is whether any exercise was undertaken for the EWS. No exercise was undertaken. Now they have filed a report...

Senior Advocate Arvind Datar on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the basis of the Centre's criteria for determining EWS for the purpose of reservation in the NEET-AIQ- of the cut-off income of Rs. 8 lakh and of property assets- is completely arbitrary.

"The fundamental question is whether any exercise was undertaken for the EWS. No exercise was undertaken. Now they have filed a report to justify it and they have much to say about it. The amendment came on 14 January 2019, and within three days an office memorandum, is issued under Article 15? When we questioned the parameter of eight lakhs, the first question was did you undertake any exercise before you announced eight lakhs? There is no such exercise done!", he advanced before the bench of Justices D. Y. Chandrachud and A. S. Bopanna.
"My submission is limited to the eight lakh limit and property assets criteria for the determination of the EWS category. The counseling cannot go on on the basis of this eight lakh. The explanation to Article 15(5) came on 14th of January 2019.
The office memorandum came on 17 January 2019. In a span of three days, they announce the EWS parameter of eight lakhs with property criteria?", he pressed.
"Unlike the backward classes where you had the Kaka Kalelkar Commission, the mandal committee and the detailed discussions with various states, responses were sought, they have not put on record any study, any determination as to how to reach this eight lakh criteria plus property assets. The present report justifies this but there is no study at all!", continued Mr. Datar.
"And what is the justification now given? They say that the basic exemption limit from income tax was 2.5 lakhs, which was taken to 5 lakhs, and that with various deductions, the personal income can go to 8 lakhs. This is completely unacceptable", argued Mr. Datar. The 3-member Committee constituted by the Centre for revisiting the EWS criteria referred to the definition of family for EWS and the fact of inclusion of agricultural income (that did not attract income tax) in the income criteria. Considering the current income tax reforms wherein effective income tax on individuals was zero for those with annual incomes up to Rs 5 lakhs, the Committee said that after taking advantage of the various provisions for deductions, savings, insurance etc the tax- payer may not need to pay any tax up to an annual income of Rs 7-8 lakhs. The Committee also remarked that the application of EWS cut off of Rs 8 lakh to just an individual was in the ballpark of income tax requirements for zero tax liability.
"If a person has got money to make investments, he is not an EWS at all! If a person has income of five lakhs, and he has further income from bank interest, how does he become EWS? Any person who gets capital gains of 1 lakh, can he be called EWS? If someone has money to invest in FDs, provident funds and makes capital gains in share markets, can they be called EWS?
And this criteria is to be applied across all India- IIT entrance, engineering colleges, basic graduate colleges, undergraduate colleges will all be affected by this quota which has been done without any study!", he urged.
Justice Chandrachud asked, "Which are the courses where it has already been implemented?"
"To the best of my knowledge, it has not been implemented. In the report which they have filed, they have given a chart of IPS/IAS categories; no educational colleges", replied Mr. Datar.
Justice Chandrachud asked ASG K. M. Nataraj, "Has it been implemented in the case of JEE or no? The report seems to indicate it is already implemented for UPSC".
The ASG told the bench, "Long ago, it was implemented in central institutions in both employment field and educational field".

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