Reservation in NEET PG Counselling issue: SC asks petitioner to file rejoinder

Despite having obtained seats in the Unreserved (UR) category through their own merit, the petitioners were allotted Reserved seats
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)
File photo of Supreme Court | (Pic: Express)

The case concerning reservation norms in NEET PG 2022 Counselling was heard in the Supreme Court today, November 21. Petitions were filed by a few NEET candidates who belong to the Reserved category. Despite having obtained seats in the Unreserved (UR) category through their own merit, they were allotted Reserved seats.

The petitions asked for proper implementation of the reservation policy in the counselling process and demanded that the students be allotted UR seats. On November 15, the apex court asked the Centre (the Respondent) to file a counter affidavit in the matter. And today, November 21, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati read out the affidavit filed by the government, as per a tweet by LiveLaw.

"The first UR seat went to Rank 18, the second to Rank 22, which was an EWS Star candidate, third to Rank 44 who was an OBC Star candidate and fourth was Rank 69 who was an OBC Star candidate. One OBC candidate chose to take this. In this manner, this is there," she said. "What college, what course is very critical. So even if he's high in merit, he may be accommodated in another college. It's a rolling roster," she added.

However, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, argued that the Centre had not followed the directions for filling up the seats. He added that the open category (UR) seats should be filled according to merit, irrespective of reservation. "Those who qualified for unreserved seats, their seats should have been counted for unreserved seats. They're not doing this," he stated, as per LiveLaw.

The matter was being heard by a Bench headed by CJI Chandradhud, who observed that the Centre must have a reason behind its allotment procedure. "This may be for a reason. If he (the petitioner) opts for an OBC seat, he may get a better institution," the CJI said. But Advocate Bhushan countered that this should have been done in the second round of seat allotment and not the first. The counsel for the petitioners also stated that the "number of reserved category candidates who should get in is also being reduced". However, CJI Chandrachud said, "We cannot say that they're completely wrong," and asked Advocate Bhushan to file a rejoinder.

The Bench observed that the "process of counselling for PG seats is almost complete since only the allotment in stray rounds remains," and, hence, granted time to the petitioner to file the rejoinder. Advocate Bhushan, nonetheless, argued for the case to be heard again soon. And, finally, the matter was listed to be heard on Monday, November 28, as per LiveLaw.

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