Centre to Revisit the Criteria for 8 lakh Annual Income Category for EWS Reservation

The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it would revisit the Rs 8 lakh annual income criteria for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) to be eligible for reservation benefits.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, conveyed this to a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud and sought four weeks for the same.

The submission follows rounds of grilling from the court during past hearings to reveal the logic and study before zeroing in on the “exact figure” of ₹8 lakh as the annual income limit to identify the EWS.

The Union Government has taken a considered decision to revisit the criteria for determining the economically weaker sections in terms of the provisions of the Explanation to Article 15 of the Constitution inserted by the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act 2019,” a Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud recorded in its order.

The question of the EWS criteria had arisen in the context of its introduction in the NEET (All India Quota), counselling for which had been put on hold earlier, pending a final decision on a petition challenging the quota rules.

The SG assured the bench, comprising Justices Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, that the counselling would be deferred by four weeks.

The Supreme Court had earlier raised several questions about this criterion. It made a prima facie observation that it appeared to be arbitrary while hearing a batch of petitions related to NEET-AIQ.

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