Relief for doctors as SC allows NEET counselling for PG, UG admissions

Decision spells good news for junior doctors who protested against the delay in admissions; Supreme Court has also upheld validity of OBC and EWS quota

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna said that the counselling for the NEET-PG for the academic year 2021-22 will proceed as per the criteria already notified

Medical admissions for academic year 2021-22 will resume after a four-month delay, as the Supreme Court on Friday cleared 27% reservation under the OBC (other backward classes)  quota and 10% under EWS (economically weaker sections) quota. Further, it has allowed the ₹8 lakh annual income criterion for EWS to remain this year.

Around 45,000 junior doctors had protested against the delay in admissions, first due to COVID, and then due to the legal wrangle over the reservation cut-off.

Also read: SC to hear NEET-PG admissions plea on Wednesday

“We have been hearing this matter for two days, we must start counselling in national interest,” said the Supreme Court bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AS Bopanna. A detailed hearing on the validity of the ₹8 lakh criterion for future admissions is scheduled for March 5; this does not affect this year’s admissions.

NEET-PG is a qualifying exam for post-graduate medical students for admission to over 100 private and medical colleges. The counselling, which was slated for October, was delayed  as petitions were filed in the Supreme Court over the Centre’s notification on the quotas. In a July 29 circular, the Centre had said 27% and 10% reservations would be given for OBC and EWS students, respectively.

Over two days, the bench heard extensive arguments, which were made by Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, Arvind P Datar, P Wilson, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor General of India KM Nataraj and a few intervenors.

Solicitor General Mehta, who represented the Centre, said he wanted to dispel confusion the revised criteria would “change the rules of the game midway”. “The subject matter of this challenge is already being implemented since 2019,” he said.

(With inputs from Agencies)