Supreme Court Defers NEET-PG Hearing, Counselling for 2021 Delayed

The top most court of law in India – the Supreme Court has deferred the hearing of a plea which challenges the Centre & Medical Counselling Committee’s move to provide 27% seat reservations to OBCs (Other Backward Class) and 10% reservation for EWS (Economically Weaker Section) candidates for admissions through National Eligibility cum Entrance Test – Post Graduate (NEET-PG). The hearing of the plea against the move by the Centre & MCC has been pushed to 23rd November 2021.

The counselling for the NEET-PG was scheduled to begin on 25th October 2021 initially, but the commencement of the counselling was postponed by the MCC and new dates have not been announced. The Centre had to assure the Supreme Court that the counselling for NEET-PG 2021 would not go ahead without the SC hearing the plea against the move for reservation of seats for EWS & OBC candidates first. The MCC had decided to create a reservation of 27% for OBC & 10% for OBC in the post-graduate All India Quota (AIQ) seats for M. B. B. S./B. S./B. D. S. & M. D./M. S./M. D. S. course admissions for the current academic year 2021-2022.

Chief Justices bench of D.Y. Chandrachud and B.V. Nagarathna recorded the promise & assurance of the Centre to not commence counselling until the plea is heard, they also warned the Centre that if the counselling begins, the students who will be part of the counselling will be in “serious trouble”. The Supreme Court had on 21st October, asked the Centre if they wished to revise the limit of ₹8 lakh annual income which determines the EWS category reservation in NEET admission for medical courses. The Centre justified its decision to set the ₹8 lakh limit on determining the EWS category on 26th October in an affidavit filed by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment stating the amount was fixed keeping in accordance of Articles 14, 15 & 16 of the Constitution of India.