NEET PG Counselling hearing Expedited in Supreme Court, details
New Delhi: Expediting the long-awaited hearing on the EWS quota matter in connection to NEET AIQ medical admissions this academic year, the Supreme Court has listed the case for deliberation tomorrow.
The case was originally slated for hearing on January 6. However, resident doctors have been protesting in Delhi seeking an early hearing, since the NEET PG counselling has been put on hold due to the pending matter.
Yesterday, referring to the urgency regarding the cases related to the EWS/OBC quota in NEET AIQ seats, the Central Government sought for listing the matter today. However, taking note of the fact that the matter concerns a three-judge bench issue, the top court bench comprising of Justice Chandrachud assured the Centre to speak to the Chief Justice for constituting a special bench at the earliest.
Now, when the matter came up during the urgent intervention today, CJI NV Ramana said that the case was being dealt with by a 3-judge bench. But this week, being a miscellaneous week, only has two-judge benches(except the bench of CJI). However, the CJI said that he will try to constitute a special bench of three judges and post the matter tomorrow. If a 3-judge bench combination is not available, the matter will be listed before a division bench, the CJI assured.
Delay in NEET PG Counselling 2021:
Around 1.6 lakh candidates had appeared for the NEET PG 2021 examination, which is the common entrance examination for securing admission to PG medical courses across India.
The top court was moved by a batch of pleas challenging the Centre and Medical Counselling Committee's (MCC) July 29th dated notification providing 27 per cent reservation for OBC and 10 per cent for EWS category for PG Medical admissions via NEET PG Counselling 2021.
Even though the counselling in the 50 percent AIQ seats was set to commence from October 25, 2021, after the OBC and EWS reservation policy that was announced by the Central Government was questioned, the MCC had postponed the counselling dates.
The Central Government had assured the top court that till the matter concerning EWS quota gets resolved, no NEET PG counselling would be held. The bench of judges, including Justice DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna, had noted Centre's assurance and recorded that if the counselling process starts before the court takes a decision, the "students will be in a serious problem".
The matter got deferred to January as the Central Government decided to revisit the Rs 8 lakh annual income limit set for determining the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
Pan-India agitation by resident doctors had ensued over the continuous deferment of the NEET PG counselling process and the doctors seeking its expedition.
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The protest had been led by junior doctors and resident doctors across the country under the umbrella of the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) and Resident Doctors Association (RDA) with the strong support from various medical organizations including the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
The strike was finally called off on Friday after a meeting between the members of FORDA and Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police.
Deliberations at Top Court:
The Central Government in an affidavit filed on December 31, 2021, informed the Supreme Court that it has accepted the recommendations of the Committee for revisiting the Criteria Of The Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Reservation.
The Centre pointed out that the Expert Committee has recommended for retaining the annual income criteria of Rs 8 lakhs, taking note of the fact that changing the criteria midway would complicate the matter. However, the committee also recommended that families having land of 5 acres or above, irrespective of their income should be excluded further adding that these revisions may be applied from the next academic year.
Apart from these, the Expert Committee made its recommendations for the removal of criteria regarding residential assets. These revisions in the criteria should be introduced from the next academic year, the Committee has suggested.
With this, the Central Government sought an urgent listing of the case today. However, the matter being a three-judge bench issue, the bench comprising of Justice Chandrachud assured to speak with the CJI who has now agreed to list the case related to EWS reservation in NEET All India Quota tomorrow.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before the CJI today morning seeking an urgent listing of the case in view of the protests by the resident doctors against the delay in NEET-PG counselling.
"It concerns EWS of society. There's a statement made by us which prevents further counselling of resident doctors", SG submitted.
CJI NV Ramana said that the case was being dealt with by a 3-judge bench. But this week, being a miscellaneous week, only has two-judge benches(except the bench of CJI). However, the CJI said that he will try to constitute a special bench of three judges and post the matter tomorrow. If a 3-judge bench combination is not available, the matter will be listed before a division bench, the CJI assured.
"The problem is it's a 3 judge bench matter, this entire week is a miscellaneous week. Let me see if tomorrow, some judge is available, we'll constitute a bench. Let me see. If possible I'll constitute a three-judge bench or it will go before a Division bench tomorrow", CJI stated, quotes Livelaw.