The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it will review the criteria of an annual income of Rs 8 lakh for providing reservation under the economically weaker section category, Live Law reported.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta made the submission at the hearing of a plea challenging 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes and 10% for the economically weaker sections in the all-India Quota seats for postgraduate medical courses.

Mehta said that the Centre will form a committee and review the income criteria within four weeks. The counselling for admission in post graduate medical courses based on this year’s National Eligibility cum Entrance Test will be deferred till then, the Centre’s counsel told the court.

In January 2019, the Parliament had passed the Constitution (One Hundred and Third) AmendmentAct, which provides 10% reservations in government institutions to the economically backward from upper castes.

A group of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test aspirants in postgraduate and undergraduate medical courses, belonging to the general category, had filed a petition challenging the quota for OBCs and economically weaker sections.

The plea argued that the quotas were not justified when there is no data to show adequate representation of OBCs and when there is no demand for reservation, Bar and Bench reported.

At an earlier hearing of the petition on October 8, the Supreme Court had observed that the criteria of annual income of Rs 8 lakh appeared to be arbitrary and had asked the Centre to explain the rationale behind it.

At Thursday’s hearing, senior Advocate Arvind P Datar, representing the petitioners, suggested that the implementation of the economically weaker section quota for postgraduate medical courses should be postponed to the academic year, Live Law reported. He said that the review of the income criteria would delay the admission process.

Justice DY Chandrachud, who presided the three-judge bench hearing the matter, also said that the Centre should consider Datar’s suggestion.

However, Solicitor General Mehta said that the government wanted to take steps to implement the quota as per the Constitution Amendment.

The matter will next be heard on January 6, 2022.