The Supreme Court of India on Monday asked the centre to put on hold the NEET PG counselling until it decides the validity of the implementation of EWS and OBC reservation in the all India quota. NEET PG counselling for 50 per cent AIQ seats was scheduled to begin today, October 25.
The top court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Centre and Medical Counselling Committee (MCC)’s July 29 notification for providing 27 per cent reservation to Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category students in all medical seats that come under the central pool.
The Supreme Court had earlier questioned the rationale behind fixing Rs 8 lakh as annual income criteria for the EWS category and sought centre’s response.
Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the NEET aspirants who had filed the petition, mentioned before the bench that in terms of official communication from the Director-General of Health Services, the counselling will commence from October 25. He sought the court’s interference saying that the entire process might be over during the pendency of the issue before the court.
Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj appearing for the Central Government assured the Supreme Court that the counselling for NEET-PG will not commence until the Court decides the validity of the Centre’s decision to introduce OBC and EWS reservation .
He said, “Mr. Datar has got the communication which was sent only to the colleges for the purpose of verification of seats. There is one more clarificatory notification which has been issued today. Otherwise, counselling will not begin unless the issue has been dealt with by the court somehow”
The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna recorded the assurance and observed that if counselling takes place before the Court takes a decision, the “students will be in a serious problem”.
“We will take your word for it then, so long as the students are not counselled. We will take your word that counselling is not starting till we decide one way or the other. Students will be in a serious problem otherwise…” Justice Chandrachud said.
Following the Supreme Court’s direction, the MCC has released a notification saying NEET-PG counselling process has been postponed until further orders.