FORDA files intervention plea in SC, says revision of OBC, EWS quota criteria will further delay counselling
New Delhi: The Federation of Indian Doctors (FORDA) has filed an intervention plea in the Supreme Court, which is currently hearing petitions challenging validity of EWS quota in postgraduate medical courses.
FORDA has been protesting against the delay in NEET-PG counselling. It emphasised that the revision of the OBC and EWS reservation criteria at such fag-end of the process shall certainly lead to furthermore delay in the commencement of the NEET PG counselling and the final selection thereafter.
The top court will take up the matter later in the day.
In a plea filed through advocate Archana Pathak Dave, FORDA said the application is being filed to put forth the grievances of the resident doctors and the doctors working to strengthen the healthcare system of India.
The plea added that the applicant is seeking indulgence from the top court with respect to the commencement of the counselling of the NEET PG examination which has been put on hold for more than a year and induction of the first-year postgraduate doctors (junior resident doctors) to fill the void created in the healthcare infrastructure of the nation.
“That it would be necessary to bring to the notice of this Hon’ble Court that the Postgraduate Doctors (hereinafter referred to as the aceJunior Residents”) hold an indispensable position in the healthcare system of the nation and their timely induction is significant to ensure the seamless functioning thereof”, said the plea.
It further added, “That every year an estimated 45,000 candidates are inducted as postgraduate doctors through the NEET PG examination. However, in the year 2021, the said process of induction of postgraduate doctors into the medical workforce was hindered due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent delay in the holding of the NEET PG examination”.
The applicant said due to non-commencement of the counselling process, no first-year postgraduate doctors/junior residents have been inducted till date, resulting in deficiency in the number of doctors and the hospital/medical colleges being understaffed at a time as crucial as a pandemic.
“The Applicant Association humbly submits revision of the reservation scheme at the present stage i.e. towards the end of the entire process of the NEET PG examination may further delay the NEET PG counselling and have adverse impact over the students, health care institution, as well as the nation at large”, added the plea.
The Centre has accepted the report of a three-member panel constituted to revisit the EWS criteria. The panel, in its report, said: “Firstly, the EWS’s criteria relates to the financial year prior to the year of application whereas the income criterion for the creamy layer in OBC category is applicable to gross annual income for three consecutive years.”
The panel added, “Secondly, in case of deciding the OBC creamy layer, income from salaries, agriculture and traditional artisanal professions are excluded from the consideration whereas the Rs 8 lakh criteria for EWS includes that from all sources, including farming. So, despite being the same cut-off number, their composition is different and hence, the two cannot be equated”.
The top court is hearing writ petitions challenging 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10 per cent reservation for EWS in all-India Quota seats for postgraduate medical courses. As many as 15 per cent seats in MBBS and 50 per cent seats in MS and MD courses are filled through All India Quota from the candidates selected through NEET.