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OBC Quota: SC upholds OBC quota in NEET

SC upholds OBC Quota in NEET- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 2: Governance, Administration and Challenges- Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

UPSC Current Affairs


SC upholds OBC Quota in NEET- Context

  • Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the constitutional validity of 27% OBC reservation in All India Quota (AIQ) seats in the NEET for UG and PG medical courses.
    • SC order provided detailed reasons for upholding the 27% OBC reservation and allowing a 10% EWS quota on existing criteria for this year.

103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: Revisiting Income Criterion for EWS Quota


SC upholds OBC Quota in NEET- Background

  • On 7 January, SC paved the way for starting the stalled NEET-PG 2021 counselling process based on the existing 27% OBC and 10% EWS reservations in the All-India Quota seats.
  • The NEET-PG counselling for 2021-2022 started on 12 January and UG counselling on 19 January.



SC upholds OBC Quota in NEET- Constitutional Provisions Related to Reservation

  • Article 15 (1) of the Constitution: It says the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
  • Article 15 (4) of the Constitution: It enables the State to make reservations for SCs and STs.
  • Article 15 (5) of the Constitution: Empowers state to make reservations in educational institutions.


SC upholds OBC Quota in NEET- Key Observations of SC

  • SC said that Merit cannot be reduced to narrow definitions of performance in an open competitive examination which only provides formal equality of opportunity.
  • Merit should be socially contextualized and reconceptualized as an instrument that advances social goods like equality that we as a society value.
  • Competitive examinations assess basic current competency to allocate educational resources but are not reflective of excellence, capabilities and potential of an Individual.
    • Individual excellence, capabilities and potential are also shaped by lived experiences, subsequent training and individual character.
  • Observation on Article 15 of the Constitution: SC said that jurisprudence of reservation had come to recognise substantive equality and not just formal equality. SC said that-
    • Articles 15 (4) and 15 (5) are not an exception to Article 15 (1), which itself sets out the principle of substantive equality (including the recognition of existing inequalities).
    • Articles 15 (4) and 15 (5) become a restatement of a particular facet of the rule of substantive equality that has been set out in Article 15 (1).


SC upholds OBC Quota in NEET- Detailed Reasons for Order

  • Delay in the Counselling Process: The Supreme Court observed the following reasonings for upholding OBC and EWS reservation in NEET-
    • OBC Quota: in the midst of the pandemic, any delay in the recruitment of doctors would impact the ability to manage the pandemic, making it necessary to allow NEET counselling.
    • EWS Quota: the argument of the petitioners on the validity of quota was not limited to the permissibility of reservation in the AIQ seats rather extends to the very criteria for the determination of the EWS, requiring detailed hearing of all interested parties.
      • In this context, SC for now has allowed the counselling session to begin with the existing criteria for the identification of the EWS category.
    • Against Judicial Propriety: SC observed that in matters involving a challenge to the Constitutionality of legislation or a rule, the Court must be wary to pass an interim order unless the Court is convinced that the rules are prima facie arbitrary.
    • As a result, SC allowed the implementation of EWS reservation in AIQ seats in NEET UG and PG seats for the academic year of 2021-2022.
    • SC listed the petition challenging the validity of the criteria determined by the Pandey committee for the identification of the EWS category for the final hearing in March 2022.


103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: Revisiting Income Criterion for EWS Quota

103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: Revisiting Income Criterion for EWS Quota

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