Nothing that high scores are not the sole models for merit, the Supreme Court has maintained booking for OBCs in NEET undergraduate and postgraduate admissions for 2021-22.

“Merit should be contextualized with respect to the social and economic background. The role of reservation can’t be negated in remedying backwardness. Reservation isn’t at chances with merit however advances the distributive consequences of social justice,” a seat of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna said. The court also pronounced that there will be no stay on the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) measures for admission to NEET-PG and the current rules (Rs 8 lakh gross annual income cut-off) will apply to the current admission year.

“Judicial intervention at this stage would have postponed admission for this year. Hence no stay on reservation measures for the 2021-22 batch. We are still in the middle of a pandemic. Delay in the recruitment of doctors would affect the pandemic response,” the court said. It would not be possible to pass an order on merits of the policy without hearing all parties concerning material depended on for reservation, and distinguishing proof of “poor and poorest “, the bench said. Citing Article 15(4) and 15(5), which call for substantive equality, the top court said, “Competitive exams don’t reflect excellence, capabilities of people. They don’t mirror the social financial and social benefit that gathers to certain classes.”

The bench also clarified that since reservation and number of seats are not revealed till after the examination is held, it can’t be said that goalposts of seats have been changed. The issue of the validity of EWS reservation and eligibility status will be heard by the top court in the third week of March. In a between time request given on January 7, the Supreme Court permitted resumption of medical counseling for NEET-PG admissions for the year 2021-22. It also upheld the validity of 27% OBC and 10 percent EWS quotas. The request related to an appeal testing booking for OBC and EWS presented by the focal government in the All India Quota (AIQ) seats in state government medical institutions.

In today’s point decision, the seat said the plan of AIQ was formulated to apportion seats in state-run medical institutions. “Focus was not needed to look for authorization of this court prior to conceding reservation in AIQ seats and hence their choice was right. We hold that bookings

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