NEET 2021: The Supreme Court questioned Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj, arguing on behalf of the Center, again asking whether any research had been done before setting an annual income limit of Rs 8 lakh for eligibility assessment for the EWS group.
The apex court on Thursday asked the Center whether it wanted to reconsider the annual income limit of Rs 8 lakh set for determining the economically weaker section (EWS) section for preservation in NEET admissions for medical courses.
The apex court has made it clear that it is not entering the domain of policy but is merely trying to ensure that constitutional principles are adhered to. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachur, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathana was upset as the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) had not submitted any affidavit and the question was asked to be answered by the Center within a week. .
“Tell us if you would like to review the criteria,” the bench said. If you want to fulfill our responsibility, we are ready to do it. We are creating questions that you have to answer. ” It added, “We can suspend the official notification of setting a standard of Rs 8 lakh for determining EWS and you can file an affidavit”.
The apex court was hearing a batch of appeals challenging the Center and the Medical Counseling Committee (MCC) on July 29, which granted 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and 10 per cent for the EWS category in the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET). ) Admission for medical course. The apex court again asked investigative questions from Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj, appeared on behalf of the Center and asked whether any practice had been done before setting an annual income limit of Rs 8 lakh for setting EWS department.
The bench said, “Was the report of the 2010 Major General (retd) SR Sinho Commission considered before setting the criteria? The report of the commission should be recorded before the court.” The Major General (Retd.) SR Sinho Commission was formed. In 2010 the UPA government recommended welfare measures for the EWS department.
Mr Natarajan said the commission’s report was one of the criteria for setting the criteria, but several discussions followed and other factors were taken into account.
“Setting a standard of Rs 8 lakh is a matter of pure policy and the court should not interfere in it. It was decided after proper application of the mind, ”he said.
Mr. Natarajan submitted that the draft affidavit has been prepared by the concerned departments and they will file it in a day or two. The bench said that it was not going to tell the government that the limit should be Rs 4 lakh or Rs 6 lakh as it was up to the executive to decide but it just wanted to know what the basis was. The limit has been fixed at Rs 8 lakh.
“The limit for determining the creamy layer in other backward class (OBC) sections was fixed at Rs. Here, for the EWS department, the limit is the same as Rs 8 lakh per annum but it was for inclusion of reservation facility, ”the bench said.
It added, “You can’t pick Rs 8 lakh from thin air and fix it as a criterion. There are some bases, there are some studies. Tell us if any demographic studies or data have been considered in delimitation.” How do you get to these exact figures? Can the Supreme Court beat the criteria if no survey is done?
It asked the Center to answer a question as since the income limit for setting creamy layer in OBC department and EWS is Rs 8 lakh, it would be arbitrary to provide the same income limit for EWS and OBCs. The apex court further asked what was accounted for in rural and urban purchasing power and on what basis the resource exception occurred and why the criteria for residential flats did not differentiate between metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas.
The bench said that according to the interpretation in the 103rd Amendment to the Constitution that the standards of EWS would be communicated by the state governments, how could the Center inform a uniform EWS standard for the whole country. The apex court then framed the question and asked the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and DOPT to submit their answers by October 28.
On October 7, the apex court questioned the Center over its decision to set an annual income limit of Rs eight lakh for setting EWS department for reservation in NEET admissions. The Center then said that setting an annual income limit of Rs 8 lakh for the EWS department was a matter of policy based on the National Living Index. On September 17, the apex court agreed to hear a batch of student appeals against the July 29 notice, which reserved 15 per cent UG and 50 per cent PG All India quota seats, 27 per cent for OBC and 10 per cent for EWS department. (MBBS / BDS and MD / MS / MDS) effective from the current academic session 2021-22.