New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday, in an interim order, allowed resumption of medical counselling for NEET-PG admissions for the year 2021-22, and upheld the validity of 27 per cent OBC and 10 per cent EWS quotas.
A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna said that detailed reasons for the interim order will follow and the counselling for the NEET-PG for the academic year 2021-22 will proceed as per the criteria already notified.
The bench said that validity of criteria of Rs 8 lakh for determination of EWS for future years will be subject to final adjudication of the batch of petitions and listed the pleas for final hearing on March 5.
While the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) has a reservation of 10 per cent and OBC community has a 27 per cent quota in the postgraduate medical admissions through the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna reserved its order on Thursday and asked the parties to file their written submissions for consideration.
"We have been hearing this matter for two days, we must start counselling in national interest," the bench said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the apex court that he would like to dispel the confusion that there is a change in the rules of the game midway.
"Firstly, there is no change in the rules of the game. The regime which is the subject matter of this challenge is already implemented since 2019 except in the All India Quota," he submitted.
Senior advocates Arvind Datar and Shyam Divan appeared in the court on behalf of some of the candidates.
Senior advocate P Wilson appeared for the Tamil Nadu government.
The Centre had told the apex court on Wednesday that it would not accept a position whereby those falling in the OBC or the EWS category, whether before or after the exercise of revisiting the criterion of Rs 8 lakh annual income, are deprived of something that is legitimately due to them.
The NEET-PG candidates, who have challenged a July 29, 2021 notification for the implementation of the OBC and the EWS quotas from the 2021-22 academic year, opposed the government's justification of applying the Rs 8 lakh income criterion, saying no study has been conducted on it.
Large-scale protests were held by resident doctors of various hospitals under the banner of the Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA) in Delhi and other parts of the country over the delay in the NEET-PG counselling, which has been postponed due to the pendency of the case and the Centre deciding to revisit the criterion for the determination of the EWS quota.