Supreme Court upholds validity of OBC quota in NEET admissions

Supreme Court upholds validity of OBC quota in NEET admissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday mentioned its choice upholding the constitutional validity of supplying 27% quota to Other Backward Classes (OBC) in NEET All India Quota (AIQ) seats for undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses, saying “reservation isn't always at odds with benefit.”

A Bench led through Justice D.Y. Chandrachud found that `benefit` couldn't be narrowed to the restriction of fulfillment in open aggressive exams. The benefit of someone becomes a sum general of “lived experiences” and his or her warfare to triumph over cultural and social setbacks.

“Merit cannot be reduced to narrow definitions of performance in an open competitive examination, which only provides formal equality of opportunities. Current competencies are assessed by competent examinations but are not reflective of excellence, capability and potential of an individual, which are also affected by lived experiences, individual character, etc,” Justice Chandrachud read out from the judgment.

National victory In a significant victory in a state like Tamil Nadu, the courts have "special arrangements" and admission to educational institutions to promote "all classes at a social and educational disadvantage". We endorsed the authority to make reservations with or without support. "Provided by citizens or for enlisted castes and enlisted tribes."

Reading out excerpts from the judgment, Justice Chandrachud said the power of the State governments to provide reservations under Article 15 (4) and (5) of the Constitution was not an “exception” to Article 15 (1), which enshrines the mandate that “the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them”.

The court ruled that the state government's authority to formulate reservations for OBC strengthens the principle of "substantial equality" expressed in Article 15 (1). The court found that the exams did not reflect how the social, economic and cultural benefits given to a particular class contributed to its success in those classes. " Examinations are not a measure of merit. The merit should be socially contextualized and reconsidered .

Reservation is consistent with the merit, but enhances its distribution effect," said Judge Chandradude. “It may be that individual members of an identified group which are being given reservation are not backward or individuals belonging to non-identified group may share characteristics of a backward group with members of an identified group. The individual difference may be a result of privilege, fortune and circumstances but it cannot be used to negate the role of circumstances,” the court explained.

The Court of further confirmed that the Center does not need to obtain the prior consent of the Supreme Court before imposing an OBC allocation on AIQ seats between NEETs. Some NEET candidates, the petitioner, argued that the Supreme Court had limited reservations to 50% in the Indira Sawhney decision, so the government should have first appealed to the court before tinkering with the allocation calculation.

Policy decision

a giving reservation to AIQ is a policy decision that is not subject to judicial review," the court emphasized. The court also dismissed the petitioner's allegation that the Center "changed the game prematurely" well in the NEET admissions process. "The government introduced the OBC / EWS allocation before the counseling. Therefore, there is no doubt about the changes in the rules of the game. Reservations will be notified by the counseling center before the start of the counseling process.

Therefore, NEET PG candidates do not receive information about the distribution of the sheet matrix. The counseling center will only provide such information after the counseling session has begun, "the court inferred. The decision was made in August 2021 in response to a notification from the Department of Health Services of the Ministry of Health on July 29, 2021 that it would make 27% and 10% reservations for the OBC and Economically Weak Section (EWS). It was based on a request from a doctor.

NEET fills 15% of AIQ sheets for undergraduate students and 50% for graduate students. This part of the OBC quota decision provided on July 29, 2021 is final. Questions regarding the validity of the EWS 10% quota will be finally negotiated in the third week of March. Meanwhile, on January 7, the court allowed NEET's deliberations on the 2021-22 AIQ seat approval to proceed under the notification of July 29, 2021.

The ₹8 lakh gross annual family income limit criterion for identifying EWS, as originally notified by a January 2019 official memorandum and recommended for retention by the government-appointed former Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey-led Expert Committee on December 31, 2021, would be implemented for the admission year 2021-2022.