Supreme Court to Centre: Explain Rs. 8 Lakh Income Limit for EWS

Swarna Shukla-

Published On: October 8, 2021 at 16:08 IST

The Supreme Court today questioned the Centre’s rationale behind introducing an annual income limit of Rs. 8 Lakhs for availing reservation under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category for postgraduates medical seats through the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).

The Bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice B V Nagarathna asked the Centre what exercise it did before coming up at the exact figure of Rs. 8 Lakhs.

The Court was hearing a batch of Petitions filed by NEET aspirants challenging a 29 July notification of the Government announcing 27% quota to Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10% reservation to EWS in the all India quota category.

The petitioners raised the questions as to whether there should be vertical or horizontal reservations for the seats, and whether an annual income of Rs. 8 Lakhs was a valid criteria for availing reservation under the EWS category.

The Court asked the Centre to file an Affidavit and place on record the reason for introducing the Rs 8 Lakhs per annum cut-off for EWS category and said, “Tell us what is the basis of Rs.8 Lakhs. You can’t just say it is a matter of policy. What is the indicia of backwardness for EWS which has been applied and what exercise has been done for arriving at this by the Government.”

The Court asked whether the Government, without application of mind, had simply decided to extend the creamy layer cap of Rs. 8 Lakhs for OBC to the EWS quota also.

The Apex Court’s query is prominent as the 103rd Constitutional Amendment of 2019, which introduced the 10% EWS Quota, is itself under question for making economic criterion as the sole ground to grant reservation benefits.

Also Read: Supreme Court to revert to Physical Hearing on 2 days starting from October 20

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