Reservation in NEET, NEET PG: SC issues notice to Centre, MCC, NBE
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre, Medical Counselling Committee (MCC), National Board of Examination (NBE) on a plea filed by doctors who challenged the reservation policy of the Central Government in NEET PG 2021 for the academic year 2021-2022.
The top court bench, headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Vikram Nath, heard the plea of doctors appearing for NEET PG 2021, who assailed notice on July 29, 2021, issued by the MCC amended in the reservation policy to implement 27 per cent OBC quota and 10 per cent EWS quota in 15 per cent UG and 50 per cent PG All India Quota medical seats (MBBS/BDS and MD/MS/MDS) with effect from the current academic session 2021-22.
On July 29, 2021, the Government of India decided to provide 27% reservation for OBC's and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the All India Quota Scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses (MBBS/MD/MS/Diploma/BDS/MDS).
The petitioners in the case are doctors who possess a recognised degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) awarded by a university or institute in India and registered with the State Medical Council. They have obtained provisional/permanent registration and are aspirants for NEET-PG 2021, which is proposed to be conducted on September 11.
"That the Petitioners have filed the present writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India to bring to the notice of this Court the grave and serious problems faced by thousands of students across the country in view of notice dated July 29, issued by the Respondent No. 1 (Medical Counselling Committee (MCC))", the plea said, quotes PTI.
The plea said that the Petitioners and similarly affected candidates were shocked to note that the MCC vide the impugned notice had resolved to implement the reservation policy. The petitioners sought quashing of the notice dated July 29, issued by the MCC providing for the implementation of prescribed reservation criteria with effect from the current academic session 2021-22.
They have also sought direction to MCC to proceed with the NEET-PG 2021 sans reservation policy provided under the impugned notice for this academic year.
They said that as per the reservation policy, the overall reservation in 15 per cent UG and 50 per cent PG All India Quota seats would be--SC - 15 per cent, ST - 7.5 per cent, OBC- (non-creamy layer) as per the Central OBC list-27 per cent, Economically Weaker Section- as per Central Government norms- 10 per cent and persons with disability-5 per cent horizontal reservation as per norms.
"It is further most humbly submitted that the application of reservation for the academic year 2021-22 is arbitrary and unjustified," the petitioner said, adding that the selection process which has commenced for the current academic year cannot be disturbed, at a belated stage.
"It is most humbly submitted that the registration process for registration into NEET-PG commenced from February 23, 2021, and the registration window for NEET PG-2021 closed on March 15, 2021. That NEET PG-2021 was earlier scheduled to be organised on April 18, 2021, and was postponed due to the upsurge in the COVID-19 cases and therefore the decision to implement the reservation policy for this academic year is sheer afterthought," they said.
The counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner medicos, Arvind P Datar, submitted that the decision is against the order of Madras High Court as it also raises the question of whether there should be horizontal or vertical reservation. "This is against Madras HC's order. It raises a question as to whether the 8 lakh should be criteria for considering the EWS category. The next is whether there should be a horizontal or vertical reservation," Senior Advocate Arvind Datar also submitted, reports Livelaw.
The bench said that it will issue notice and tagged the matter.
Another advocate appearing for more petitioners, Vikas Singh said that in an earlier verdict it was held by the top court that there will be no reservation in higher degree courses.
Singh said that the decision of the Centre will have its impact on NEET. They submitted that July 13 notice also provides for the number of candidates who have already registered for NEET-PG-2021 and the change in reservation after registration for the exam will cause grave injustice to the Petitioners and similarly placed students, who were not aware of the current reservation policy, while registering for the exam.
The writ argued that the overall reservation for 15% UG and 50% PG All India Quota seats would cause unlawful deprivation of the fundamental rights of the doctors guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
"50% ceiling is based on principle of equality to prevent reverse discrimination which is as much a principle that the Constitution records to equality as anything else," the petition said, adds Livelaw report.
It was averred in the petition that the matter pertaining to the EWS quota was pending before the 5 judge bench of the Supreme Court following the reference made in the case Janhit v Union of India and has not been taken up yet.
"Therefore unless the issue is adjudicated by the Supreme Court the policy is ultra vires as against the 50% ceiling in Indra Sawhney and Martha Reservation case. The impugned decision is unconstitutional as it breaches the 50% ceiling limit imposed on reservations as laid down by the court in a catena of landmark judgements," the petition said.
Considering the petitions, the bench has issued notices to the Central government, MCC and NBE, adds the India Legal Live report.
The authorities have been directed to file their responses within two weeks.