Indian Supreme Court has questioned on what basis Rs.8 lakh is determined as maximum income criteria per year for economically weaker section who receives 10% reservation.
In the hearing of the petitions appealed against the introduction of 10% EWS category and 27% OBC category for All India level medical seats on 29th July, the panel of judges including Chandra Sood, Vikramnath, Nagaratna has raised this question.
Additional Solicitor General, K.M.Natraj, “It is based on the government policy. The decision was based on the cost of living in the Country”, answered. He mentioned that the income criteria per year for the creamy layer of the OBC category is Rs.8 lakh. It was Rs.6.5 lakhs in 2015, and in 2017 it was increased to Rs.8 lakh.
The judges, “As far as the forward category is concerned, no discussion on socially and educationally weaker is needed. So how is it possible to fix the same criteria that exist for the creamy layer of socially and educationally backward category?”, questioned.
“We would like to get clarified on basis of which annual income criteria Rs.8 lakh is determined, any discussions that happened to finalise it, is it the same criteria across the country since the cost of living varies between the states? The cost of living seems high in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai when compared to other small cities. So how is it possible to fix Rs.8 lakh criteria for everyone if the cost of living alone is considered?”, the judges questioned.
Since the criteria used for Socially and Educationally Backward Category (SEBC) cannot be used for the EWS category, the Supreme Court has asked to clarify the other options on deciding the criteria.
A case related to the constitutional law on 10% reservation for EWS is pending in High Court, said the Additional Solicitor General. Justice Chandra Sood informed that the 103rd constitutional law for eligibility of EWS is heard by a different panel, but now it is being investigated on the execution of the law.
The Supreme Court has ordered the central government to file an affidavit on the issue of permitting to implement the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Department of Personnel and Training, and on deciding Rs.8 lakh as annual income criteria for the EWS category.