SC to hear petitions on criteria to identify 10% EWS quota candidates on April 28

Published on Mar 22, 2022 01:26 AM IST

The Supreme Court will start hearing from April 28 petitions against the EWS quota on the ground that it was too broad and failed to explain what will constitute family income.

The Centre has decided to continue with <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>8 lakh limit for identification of economically weaker section (EWS) after the Supreme Court raised doubts over the 10% quota rollout while dealing with NEET-PG admissions. (Satish Kaushik/Mint File Photo)
The Centre has decided to continue with 8 lakh limit for identification of economically weaker section (EWS) after the Supreme Court raised doubts over the 10% quota rollout while dealing with NEET-PG admissions. (Satish Kaushik/Mint File Photo)
ByAbraham Thomas

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court will next month hear a bunch of petitions challenging the validity of criteria identifying the economically weaker section (EWS) for providing 10% reservation to such persons belonging to general category in jobs and education.

A group of doctors challenged a government notification issued in July last year applying 10% EWS quota and 27% quota for other backward classes (OBC) in the all-India quota seats in post-graduate NEET admissions.

In January this year, the top court upheld the validity of OBC quota in Neet-PG admissions but raised concerns over the criteria for identifying EWS quota. According to a January 17, 2019 order issued by the Centre, people with a gross annual family income of less than 8 lakh will be considered to be from EWS, besides restrictions on agricultural land upto five acres, 1000 square feet residential flat, 100 square yard residential plot in notified municipalities and 200 square yard residential plot (in non-notified municipalities).

Since counseling for 2021-22 Neet-PG admissions was delayed due to these petitions, the Supreme Court allowed the Centre to proceed with counseling of EWS category seats only for this year based on the January 2019 classification. However, it agreed to consider the validity of EWS criteria and posted the petitions in March.

On Monday, a bench of justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant directed the petitions to be listed on April 28 when it will hear the Centre and petitioners on the EWS classification. The petitions challenged EWS quota on the ground that it was too broad and failed to explain what will constitute family income.

A three-member panel led by former finance secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey to revisit the EWS criteria recommended in December last that the government retain the annual family income criteria of 8 lakh but suggested doing away with the condition on residential assets from the next academic/advertisement cycle.

The 10% EWS quota was introduced under the 103rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019 which is under challenge before a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court. As the Act has not been stayed, the government issued a notification on July 29 last year introducing 10% EWS quota along with 27% quota for other backward classes (OBC) within the All-India Quota (AIQ) seats for postgraduate medical courses from this academic year. By this decision, 2,500 PG seats in government medical colleges would go to OBCs and 1,000 to EWS.

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