No NEET PG Counselling till Supreme Court hears on EWS, OBC reservation in AIQ Quota: Centre tells Top Court

  • Thyagarajan Narendran
  • 11:37 AM, 25 Oct 2021

Supreme Court has agreed to not hear the writ petitions challenging the notifications challenging the reservation for Economically Weaker Sections and OBCs in Post Graduate Medical Admissions on ASG Natraj's submission. The matter was mentioned by Senior Advocate Arvind Datar today citing that the government has released a notification for counselling and the writ will become infructuous if the counselling goes on as per the schedule.

ASG Natraj appearing for the government appearing before the bench of Justices Chandrachud and Nagarathna said that the notification of counselling was meant solely for colleges for determination of seats and not for the students. He further submitted that he stands by his word that the counselling will not take place right now and the reading of the notification is not accurate. 

The court on hearing the submissions told the ASG that this will affect the students if the counselling takes place. ASG reiterated that this is not an accurate notification and the students will not be affected by this notification. The court took the ASG's word and decided not to hear, Datar agreed to go by ASG's submission that the counselling will not take place now. The ASG further informed the court and Datar that he maybe contacted for any further clarification on the notification stating that he has instructions. 

The Court  on the last date of hearing expressed its apprehension regarding the validity of the Rs 8 lakh annual income limit set by the Centre for EWS criteria, and had sought centre's response in this issue. The matter is to be heard on October 28 by the court. 

It is to be noted that Justices Chandrachud and Nagarathna are sitting as a 2 judge bench today as opposed the a 3 judge bench along with Justice Vikram Nath. 

Background:

The Supreme had issued notice in petitions challenging the amended reservation(s) policy by the Government of India wherein a decision was taken to provide 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in AIQ scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses (MBBS / MD/ MS/ Diploma/ BDS/ MDS) from current academic year 2021-22 onwards.

A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Hima Kohli listed the cases for further hearing after 2 weeks.

The plea reads,
"It will not be out of place to mention that it is paramount that the quality of doctors by nature of their duties is not sacrificed. It is pertinent to note that duty played by a professional doctor not only affect an individual rather affect the society at large. It is humbly submitted that pandemics like COVID-19, proves how essential is the role of a doctor and how the quality of medical professionals will impact the society"

The petition has been filed by Doctors who are also NEET PG aspirants on the ground that the said decision by the Government is against the binding dictum of law laid down by this Hon’ble Court in plethora of judgments.

Senior Advocate Arvind Datar appearing for the petitioners submitted that this is against the order of the Madras High Court which upheld the notification, to which Justice Chandrachud said that we'll issue notice on this.

The Madras High Court had earlier dropped contempt proceedings against the Central government in a petition filed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) alleging deliberate and willful violation of the High Court’s 2020 ruling on the issue of implementing reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in All India Quota (AIQ) medical college seats for the academic year 2021-2022. The court observed that the 27% OBC reservation offered by the Centre in its Jul 29 notification was permissible, subject to the Supreme Court's formal approval of the same.

The petitioners have contended that the Respondents ignored the settled position of law which mandates 50% ceiling on reservation and that the Constitution Amendments fail to consider that Articles 14 and 16 form the basic feature of equality, and that they have been violated with the doing away of the restraints that were imposed on the reservation policy, i.e., the 50% ceiling limit.

Thus, the plea seek quashing of the impugned action taken by the Government of India, inter alia providing for reservation policy in 15% UG and 50% PG All India Quota seats (“AIQ”), wherein decision was taken to provide 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in AIQ scheme for undergraduate and postgraduate medical/dental courses (MBBS/MD/MS/Diploma/BDS/MDS) from current academic year 2021-22 onwards.

The bench has also issued a notice in another PIL represented by Senior Advocate Vikas Singh seeking a stay on the reservation policy stating, "that the application of reservation in the current academic year is completely arbitrary and cannot be interdicted at this stage." 

"The selection process which has commenced for the current academic year cannot be disturbed," the plea added.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks while considering the submission made by Singh that this will have an impact on the NEET-PG examination.


Petitions have been filed through Dr. Charu Mathur and Dubey Law Associates, Advocate & Tanvi Dubey, Advocate

Case Title: Dr. Neil Aurelio Nunes & Ors. Vs. UOI and Dr. Yash Tekwani & Ors. Vs. Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) & Ors.