The Supreme Court today said it will hear a plea challenging the validity of the Rs 8 lakh annual income criteria approved by the Centre for availing reservations under the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota for NEET admissions. Admitting the plea, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant posted the matter for hearing on August
The plea has been filed on behalf of NEET aspirants who contend that the EWS quota, and the upper limit on family income of Rs 8 lakh per year (the same as that for the creamy layer of Other Backward Classes quota), was unfair to them.
On January 7 this year, the apex court allowed the commencement of NEET-PG and NEET-UG counseling process for the year 2021-22 under the existing reservation quota of 27 per cent for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and 10 per cent for the EWS as per the existing Rs 8 lakh annual income threshold. The decision was guided by the intent to ensure that the admission process is not delayed further.
Notably a three-member committee set up by the Centre to revisit the criterion set by the Centre for availing EWS quota, had recommended retaining the Rs 8 lakh per year income limit while suggesting that families which hold 5 acre or more of agricultural land, irrespective of income, be excluded from the ambit of the scheme. However, the panel noted in its recommendations that any revisions be taken up only from the next year.