Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 21
The Supreme Court today posed certain searching questions to the Centre over the criterion of annual income of Rs 8 lakh for determining the eligibility for reservation to economic weaker sections (EWS) in the NEET-All India Quota for medical admissions.
“You must have some socio-economic data. You can’t just pull out Rs 8 lakh from thin air... You are making unequals equals by applying the Rs 8 lakh limit,” a Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud told Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, who represented the Centre.
Posers to govt
- If difference in rural and urban purchasing power has been considered while fixing the income limit?
- On what basis asset exception has been arrived at?
- Why flat criterion didn’t differentiate between metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas?
Admitting that fixing eligibility criteria to avail of the EWS quota was a policy matter, the Bench said it was entitled to know the reasons behind a policy decision to determine the constitutional validity of such decisions.
While hearing petitions filed by NEET aspirants challenging the Centre’s decision to introduce 27 per cent OBC and 10 per cent EWS reservation in NEET-All India Quota, it sought to know the basis for the Centre notifying the EWS criteria on a uniform basis across the country.
“Among OBCs, people (earning) below Rs 8 lakh income also suffer from social and educational backwardness. Under the constitutional scheme, EWS are not socially and educationally backward,” it said.
The Bench wanted to know if difference in rural and urban purchasing power had been considered while fixing the income limit; on what basis asset exception had been arrived at; and why residential flat criterion didn’t differentiate between metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas.
Expressing displeasure over the Centre not filing an affidavit on the issue despite several questions raised by it with regard to the EWS eligibility criteria on October 7, it posted the matter for further hearing on October 28.
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