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NEET PG counselling: Supreme Court begins hearing, petitioners’ say Centre can’t change rules when only SC can

The bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice A.S. Bopanna said that it was not possible to constitute a 3-judge bench this week and, therefore, the matter is being heard by a two-judge bench.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the plea challenging the July 29 notification of the Centre and the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) to provide 27 per cent reservation to Other Backward Class (OBC) and 10 per cent to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students in all-India quota medical seats. The hearing is likely to determine when the NEET PG Counselling process begins. The Top Court will continue the hearing on Thursday.

The bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice A.S. Bopanna said that it was not possible to constitute a 3-judge bench this week and, therefore, the matter is being heard by a two-judge bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that on the basis of the December 31 report of the 3-member committee, the Centre has filed an affidavit.

For the petitioners, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan said it is not only the issue of EWS reservation, they have also challenged the OBC reservation.

Justice Chandrachud:

“After reviewing the EWS reservation on this matter, an affidavit has been filed. Tomorrow, we will hear the Centre. Today, we will hear the petitioners’ side.”

Justice Chandrachud asked Divan:

“The Centre says that permission should be given to start counselling, what is your opinion about starting counseling?”

Divan submitted that while announcing this on July 13 last year, a notification was issued on July 29. Through that notification, the criteria for admission to 2500 seats were completely changed by changing the rules, which ought not to be done. Once the process is started, no changes should be made, he added.

Also Read: NEET PG 2021: Supreme Court to hear matter on EWS quota from Wednesday

Divan said any change in the scheme can be done only by the Supreme Court. Neither any state or Central government nor any High Court can make changes in it. Divan said postgraduate admissions should be purely based on merit and reservation should be minimal.

The Supreme Court will tomorrow hear Senior Advocate Arvind Datar and other petitioners after fresh admissions cases are over. NEET PG counselling will not start until the Supreme Court decides the validity of EWS and OBC quotas.

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