August 16, 2022

ews: Medical admission delay: SC ‘shares’ concern, quota ruling today | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday will pronounce its decision on the inclusion of 27% OBC and 10% EWS quota in medical admissions, just 16 hours after it reserved verdict on petitions challenging the extension of these two quotas for NEET-PG admissions for 2021-22 academic session.
The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that admissions to central educational institutions had provision for 27% OBC quota since 2006 and EWS quota for more than two years and argued that it is incorrect on the part of petitioners to accuse the government of changing the rules of the game mid-way by extending these reservations to medical admissions for 2021-22.
After hearing the petitioners who have challenged the two quotas in medical admission and solicitor general Tushar Mehta who proposed early resumption of stalled medical counselling for undergraduate and PG medical courses, a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna reserved judgment at 4.30 pm on Thursday. The judgment, to be pronounced at 10.30 am on Friday, will allow early resumption of counselling for medical seats with or without the quotas.
Meeting head on a fusillade of charges from counsel for petitioners questioning the rationality of extending OBC and EWS quota to medical admission, Mehta said that providing reservation to socially and economically backward classes — OBC and EWS — is constitutionally imperative and the SC in a string of judgments more than a decade ago has upheld this view.
He said the government respects the SC’s consistent rulings against reservation in super-speciality courses and that NEET-PG is not a super-speciality course. The focus of the arguments by petitioners was against inclusion of 10% EWS quota and the Rs 8 lakh annual income criteria for the purpose.
Extricating the government from a difficult situation, in which the bench repeatedly questioned the rationale behind the income benchmark, Mehta said the EWS income criteria is very different from the income criteria of Rs 8 lakh fixed for weeding out creamy layer from cornering benefits of the OBC quota. Picking up from the arguments of senior advocate Arvind Datar, the bench asked whether Rs 5 lakh annual income would be a reasonable benchmark for EWS category.
Mehta said while the Rs 8 lakh annual income for OBC is computed individually on the basis of earnings in the past three years, for the EWS category the income is total household income for the past year. Moreover, possession of five acres of land would disqualify one to be categorised under EWS quota. However, he said the Ajay Bhushan Pandey committee recommendations, accepted by the Centre, tweaking the existing EWS criteria would be applicable from next year.
He said changing the EWS income criteria for admissions to the 2021-22 academic session would further delay the admissions and cause shortage of resident doctors. Appearing for Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), advocate Archana Pathak Dave said because of the delay in PG admissions, the resident doctors’ strength has declined to almost one-third, forcing them to work very long hours at a time when there is a third surge of Covid patients.
The bench said, “It is a genuine concern of not only the resident doctors but the entire citizenry. Your concern is well taken and shared by the Supreme Court.” After the SG explained the difficulties that would be faced by EWS candidates if the criteria were tweaked, the bench said, “We understand why the Pandey committee and the Centre is saying the tweaked norms would come into force from next year.”
The SG also said that the Supreme Court has consistently ruled just because an alternative view is possible, the court cannot substitute the Union government’s well-considered decision with its own view. The SC can always strike down a decision if it is not in consonance with the mandate or provisions of the Constitution, he added.

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