The NEET-PG counselling will commence from January 12, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Sunday, January 9. The Supreme Court on January 7, in an interim order, allowed resumption of medical counselling for NEET-PG admissions for the year 2021-22. It also upheld the validity of 27% OBC (Other Backward Classes) and 10% EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) quotas in the All India Quota seats.
"As assured by the Ministry of Health to the resident doctors, following the order of the Honourable Supreme Court, the NEET-PG counselling is being started by the Medical Counselling Committee from January 12, 2022. This will give more strength to the country in the fight against Corona. My best wishes to all the candidates (sic)," Mandaviya said in a tweet in Hindi.
The NEET-PG exam was held on September 11, 2021, after being rescheduled twice in January and April that year. Its results were declared in the last week of September 2021, following which students for nearly 45,000 postgraduate seats had been waiting for the counselling to begin.
Resident doctors of various medical colleges across the entire country last month held protests and boycotted work demanding expedition of the counselling, as they were overburdened with work due to inadequate workforce.
The Supreme Court on Friday, January 7, paved the way for starting the stalled NEET-PG 2021 counselling process. A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna, which had for two consecutive days heard the matter on applicability of Rs 8 lakh annual income criteria for determination of economically weaker section (EWS), passed an interim order, saying "there is an urgent need to commence the process of counselling".
"Counselling on the basis of NEET-PG 2021 and NEET- UG 2021 shall be conducted by giving effect to the reservation as provided by the notice dated July 29, 2021, including the 27% reservation for the OBC (other backward class) category and 10% reservation for EWS category in the AIQ (All India Quota) seats," the bench said.
The apex court passed the interim order on a batch of pleas filed by doctors challenging a July 29, 2021, notice of the Union government and the Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) providing 27% reservation for OBC and 10% for EWS in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET-PG) admissions for medical courses for the academic year 2021-22.
The top court, which passed five operative directions, said that the criteria for the determination of EWS notified by the office memorandum (OM) 2019, including Rs 8 lakh annual income criterion, will be used for identifying the EWS category for candidates, who appeared for the NEET-PG 2021 and NEET-UG (Under Graduate) 2021 examinations. However, the bench said that the validity of the criteria determined by the Pandey Committee for identification of EWS would prospectively for the future be subject to the final result of the petitions.
"The petitions shall be listed for final hearing on the validity of the EWS criteria as recommended by the Pandey Committee in the third week of March 2022," the bench said.