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SC’s Detailed Order Upholds Centre Decision On OBC Quota In NEET PG Counselling

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10% for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate and postgraduate medical admissions (all-India quota).

Announcing its detailed order on the case, a bench of the apex court comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AS Bopanna said the competitive examinations do not reflect the economic social advantage accrued to some classes over a period of time and the merit should be socially contextualised.

On January 7, the bench in a brief order had allowed NEET PG counselling to commence as per the pre-existing reservation criteria and said it would soon come out with a detailed order.

“Articles 15(4) and 15(5) are facets of substantive equality. Competitive exams do not reflect (the) economic social advantage which is accrued to some classes. Merit should be socially contextualised. Reservation is not at odds with merit but furthers its distributive impact,” the Indian Express quoted the court as saying.

Upholding the Centre’s decision on the quota, the bench said the government does not need to seek its permission before granting reservation in the all-India quota seats. Pointing out that any intervention by the court would have further delayed the admission process, it said judicial propriety would not permit it to stay the quota when the counselling is pending.

In its order in the NEET PG counselling case on 7 January, the Supreme Court had upheld the existing criterion of Rs 8 lakh annual income for the EWS category for this academic year.

On October 25 last year, the apex court had told the Centre to put on hold counselling for NEET-PG until it decides the validity of the reservation criteria.