OBC, EWS reservation: SC issues notice on PIL against medical quota

Updated on Sep 07, 2021 03:05 AM IST

The court order came on two separate petitions filed by 27 doctors who claimed the notification of July 29 issued by the Medical Counseling Committee (MCC) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was bad in law and arbitrary.

SC on medical quota
SC on medical quota
ByAbraham Thomas, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Union government’s response on its decision to introduce 27% reservation for other backward classes and 10% for economically weaker sections (EWS) in the all India quota (AIQ) for undergraduate and post graduate medical/dental admissions from this academic year. The response has to be filed within two weeks.

The court order came on two separate petitions filed by 27 doctors who claimed the notification of July 29 issued by the Medical Counseling Committee (MCC) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was bad in law and arbitrary.

The petitions argued by senior advocates Arvind Datar and Vikas Singh pointed out that with the said reservation policy, the total reservation will exceed the 50% ceiling fixed by the Supreme Court in its landmark 1992 verdict. The 50% ceiling was later upheld in subsequent decisions of the Supreme Court.

The 27% OBC quota and 10% EWS quota would apply to 15% AIQ seats in the MBBS/BDS courses and to 50% AIQ seats for MD/MS/MDS courses. As the effect will be felt largely on post-graduate medical seats, the petitioners said, “the impugned notice (of July 29) for the current academic year will severely harm the future of lakhs of students who had no knowledge of the said reservation policy, while they registered for the exam in February this year.”

The common entrance for PG medical/dental courses is scheduled for September 11.

A bench of Justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli issued notice to MCC, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and National Board of Examination and posted the matter after two weeks.

There is already reservation for Scheduled Castes (15%) and Scheduled Tribes (7.5%) under the AIQ. With the addition of OBC quota (non-creamy layer) and EWS quota, the total reservation would exceed 50% and will touch 64.5% (including 5% reservation for persons with disability).

“The impugned decision is manifestly arbitrary as it is in complete breach of Article 14 (right to equality), 15 (non-discrimination), 16 (equality of opportunity in public employment) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution of India and also bypasses ceiling of reservation of 50 per cent,” said the petition filed through advocate Malak Manish Bhatt. It further stated that “the decision to implement the reservation policy for this academic year is sheer afterthought,” as NEET PG 2021 was earlier scheduled to be organized on April 18 but was postponed due to the surge in the Covid-19 cases.

The petition further relied on a statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May when he announced postponement of NEET- PG exam by four months. It said, “It was nowhere mentioned that in between these four months, there will be changes in the reservation policy and the current academic year will be subjected to the revised reservation policy.”

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