The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the constitutional validity of 27 per cent reservation for OBC and 10 per cent for EWS categories for admission to medical courses for this year

The ₹ 8 lakh income criteria to identify EWS beneficiaries has also been allowed for this year.

"We have been hearing this matter for two days, we must start counselling in national interest," the bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AS Bopanna said.

A detailed hearing on EWS reservation and identifying criteria will be held on March 5, the court said, adding that it will consider the validity of EWS quotas at the time.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government, said he wanted to dispel confusion that the revised criteria would "change the rules of the game midway".

This was in reference to senior advocate Shyam Divan, who appeared for the petitioners, saying the July notification had affected students because it was introduced after the exams were notified.

The government subsequently asked the court to allow counselling - with existing criteria retained - to resume as the delay had led to large-scale protests by resident doctors across the country

The government said changing norms at this time - when admissions and allocation of colleges for NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) students are ongoing - will lead to complications.

Existing criteria to identify EWS beneficiaries will be retained for this year and revised norms could come into effect from the 2022/23 academic season, the government said

The revised criteria retain the contentious ₹ 8 lakh annual income ceiling but excludes families with agricultural land of five acres or more, irrespective of income.