Following the massive strike of doctors all over India over the delay in NEET counselling for the PG courses which got passively aggressive at various regions with the clash between police forces and the doctors on road, finally was put to halt by FORDA after the government ensured their stand and the case was passed to the Honorable Supreme Court of India.
The government has earlier presented their affidavit and put forth its preference of starting the counselling by 6th January 2021, thereby requesting the court to prepone its hearing date. Considering the fact that the entire country is stepping into the third covid phase, and in need of doctors in hospitals and not on streets, the court accepted the request.
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The Supreme Court was hearing a batch of pleas challenged the July 29 notice providing 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10% for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category in 15% UG and 50% PG All India Quota seats (MBBS or BDS and MD, MS, MDS) with effect from the academic session 2021-22.
The plea was addressed by a bench of judges that included, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AS Bopanna. The hearing of the NEET PG counselling 2021, commenced on 5th January 2021 and continued to 6th January 2021. The court reserved its decision for the 7th January 2021. In the first few hours of the morning, the Supreme court finally stated its verdict to resume the NEET PG and UG counselling removing the issued stay with the already existing AIQ reservation criteria.
Advocate Archana Pathak Dave for the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), which in her argument stated, "NEET PG counselling has to start immediately because 3rd year residents are about to pass out in four months. We'll be left with 33% of the workforce. With the 3rd wave coming we need doctors."
Advocate Dave requested the resumption of counselling. It had been argued that the country needed more doctors and the delay in counselling was hindering the larger objective.
The court heard arguments from senior advocates Arvind Datar and Shyam Divan on behalf of some of the candidates. P Wilson argued on behalf of the DMK.
As the NEET notification for 2021 was released before the cente's announcement on July 29 regarding the reservation of quotas for EWS and OBC, Advocate Divan argued that the rules of the game cannot be changed midway.
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Senior Advocate Datar resumed his submissions at the start of the hearing, sharing how the EWS criteria, as set by the Central Government, was arbitrary and unfair. The 8 lakh income plus the asset requirement was too high for a truly economically disadvantaged student, he noted. He presented that the limit of 2.5 lakh should be considered for EWS.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged the Court to permit the start of NEET PG counseling. Senior Advocate Shyam Divan argued that introducing OBC, EWS quota in July after the issuance of exam notification amounted to changing the rule midway, as per Live Law. He also argued that PG admissions must be totally merit-based and reservations must be minimal.
After hearing all the arguments the Supreme Court concluded the hearing favouring the Center’s plea for letting the counselling for this year qualifiers as planned.
“We have upheld the constitutional validity of 27 percent reservation for OBC in NEET PG & UG. For EWS this year the 10 percent will apply for this year and the prospective ruling will be decided on a final EWS hearing to be held on March 3, 2022,”
Justice DY Chandrachud said, according to Bar & Bench.
The decision has paved the way for the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) to begin the NEET UG and NEET PG counselling process.
It is believed that the NEET counseling for PG as well as UG would resume soon!
The students are requested to stay updated for all the latest updates for NEET counseling on the official website of Medical Counselling Committee (MCC).