The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Central Government, Medical counselling Committee (MCC) and the National Board of Examination (NBE) on a petition filed by 27 Medical Professionals appearing for NEET PG-2021, challenging the reservation policy of Central Government in NEET-PG 2021 for academic year 2021-2022.
The bench, headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and also comprising Justice Vikram Nath, heard the plea of doctors, who assailed notice on July 29, 2021 issued by the Medical Counselling Committee amended in the reservation policy to implement 27 percent OBC reservation and 10 percent EWS reservation in 15 percent UG and 50 percent PG All India Quota seats (MBBS/BDS and MD/MS/MDS) with effect from the current academic session 2021-22.
Petitioner Dr Yash Tekwani and other doctors prayed in their writ petition preferred under Article 32 to quash such notice issued by the Medical Counseling Committee, as it mentions the implementation of reservation criteria with effect from current academic session 2021-22.
“To continue with NEET-PG 2021 devoid of any reservation policy as envisaged under the notice dated July 29, 2021,” contended the Writ Petition.
“The schedule of conducting examination NEET-PG 2021 was supposed to happen on April 18, 2021, but in pursuant to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare directions, such examinations never got conducted and were postponed till further notice. Such notice citing reservation policy would hamper with the selection process at such initial stage, which has already initiated,” the petition submitted.
“The reason for postponement of NEET PG-2021 examination was due to surge in Covid-19 cases, schedule to be held on April 18, 2021 and therefore, the decision to implement the reservation policy for the academic year is a sheer afterthought,” it added.
The future of lakhs of students, who were unaware about reservation policy, while they registered for the exam, was on stake, it claimed.
The petition sought stay on such implementation of reservation policy in arbitrary manner for the time being for academic year 2021-22.
The Doctors in their Writ Petition cited the case of this Court ( Dr. Prerit Sharma and ors v. Dr. BiluB.S. and Ors.) (2020 SCC Online SC 961) ,wherein this court directed counselling for admission to Super Speciality Medical Courses to be conducted without providing for reservation to in service doctors for academic year 2020-2021.
The pPetition also mentioned the official statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi made on May 3, 2021, declaring NEET-PG exam to be postponed for four months. It was categorically mentioned that during this time period, there could be a change in reservation policy and current academic year will be subjected to revised reservation policy, although the exam of aspirants would get postponed due to the Covid-19 upsurge.
In the Writ Petition, the petitioner categorised the manner in which the reservation policy will apply to the aspirants of NEET-PG 2021. “As per the reservation policy, the overall reservation in 15% UG and 50% PG All India Quota seats would be as:
• S.C. – 15%
• S.T. – 7.5%
• O.B.C. – (Non creamy Layer) as per the Central OBC list -27%
• EWS- as per Central Government norms- 10%
• PwD- 5% Horizontal Reservation as per NMC norms,” it noted.