The Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the Rs 8 lakh annual income requirement for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) to be eligible for reservation benefits will be reconsidered.
Representing the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed a bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud of the situation and requested four weeks to resolve it.
The EWS criteria had come up in the context of their inclusion in the NEET (All India Quota), which had previously been put on hold while a final verdict on a petition contesting the quota rules was awaited.
The EWS or the Economically Weaker Sections reservation is for that section of the 'General' classes (not covered under OBC, SC or ST) whose family income is below Rs. 8 lakhs. The Constitution of India was amended to provide for a 10% reservation in education and government jobs in India for a section of the General category candidates.
The quota is meant for ‘general’ candidates (not covered under reservation for SC, ST or OBC) whose family income is below Rs. 8 lakhs. Additionaly the family should not own agricultural land of size 5 acres or more or residential flat of area 1000 square feet or more or residential plot (other than in notified municipalities) of area 200 square yards or more.
The Supreme Court had previously ordered the Centre to explain how it arrived at the Rs 8 lakh annual income threshold for identifying EWS students eligible for medical seats under the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test – All India Quota (NEET-AIQ).
The Supreme Court is hearing a slew of student petitions challenging the Centre and Medical Counselling Committee's (MCC) July 29 notice, which provided 27% reservation for OBCs and 10% for EWSs in the National Eligibility Cumulation Entrance Test (NEET-PG) admissions for medical courses for the current academic year.