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EWS quota in NEET admissions | Do you want to revisit ₹8 lakh slab, Supreme Court asks government

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Government if it wants to revisit the limit of ₹8 lakh annual income fixed for determining the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category for reservation in NEET admissions for medical courses under the all-India quota.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud expressed its annoyance at the Government for not filing an affidavit explaining how it reached the ₹8 lakh figure to identify the EWS category for grant of reservation.

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“Tell us if you want to revisit the criterion or not. If you want us to discharge our duties, then we are ready to do so. We are formulating questions... you need to answer them,” Justice Chandrachud addressed Additional Solicitor-General K.M. Natraj, for the Government.

The court said it might even “stay the Government notification fixing ₹8 lakh for determining the EWS”.

“You cannot just pick ₹8 lakh out of the thin air and fix it as a criterion. Was any demographic study or data taken into account in fixing the limit? How do you arrive at this exact figure? Can the Supreme Court strike down the criterion if no study was undertaken?” the Bench asked.

 

In the previous hearing on October 7, the Government assured the court that it would file an affidavit on oath explaining the reasons and statistics which led to the figure of ₹8 lakh as the annual income criterion to identify EWS among forward classes of society for grant of 10% reservation in medical admissions under the all-India quota.

The Supreme Court’s query is significant as the One Hundred and Third Constitutional Amendment of 2019, which introduced the 10% EWS quota, is itself under challenge before a larger Bench. The Amendment is under question for making economic criterion as the sole ground for grant of reservation benefits.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by NEET aspirants challenging a July 29 notification of the Centre announcing 27% quota to OBCs and 10% reservation to EWS in the All India Quota category.

The court had insisted on the affidavit though Mr. Natraj urged it to leave the “larger” issue of what led to income criterion of ₹8 lakh for the Constitution Bench to examine.

Mr. Natraj had said the three-judge Bench should confine itself only to the limited problem of whether or not to stay the July 29 notification.


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 5:25:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ews-quota-in-neet-admissions-do-you-want-to-revisit-8-lakh-slab-supreme-court-asks-government/article37118397.ece

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