QUOTA: Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on 10 per cent quota for ECWs

NEWS / SC / QUOTA

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Union Government, asking it to file its response to a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the 10 per cent reservation it granted in jobs and education to the economically backward among the forward castes. The Centre has been given three weeks to file its response.

The court refused to grant an interim stay to the government order, which is currently being implemented on the fast-track mode. The new quota was introduced by the Modi government as a New Year gift to the forward communities on January 8 through the 103-rd Constitution Amendment bill, 2019. This turned into law (Act) after President Ramnath Kovind gave it his stamp of approval on January 12.

The petitions were filed by, among others, the NGO Youth for Equality, which said the amendment violated Constitutional provisions.  While the new 10 per cent reservation would add up to a total 58 per cent reservations, Constitution does not allow more than 50 per cent reservations. But, the government side claimed earlier that this addition would not be against Constitutional provisions and that there were ways to ensure legal approval.

At present, SCs get a reservation of 15 per cent, the STs 7.5 per cent and OBCs 27 per cent. The present 10 per cent quota would go to those from the forward castes who have a family income less than Rs 8lakh per annum (Rs 65,000) per month. Those owning more than five acres of land and those who have a house of 1,000 sq foot or more space are also note eligible.

Among others, retired judge, Justice Chelameswar has said the 10 per cent reservation was unlawful. While almost every political party welcomed the 10 per cent reservations, the DMK was the only party which publicly protested against this quota and moved the Supreme Court. The  Left wholeheartedly welcomed it along with the Congress party. So did the SP and the BSP in Uttar Pradesh.

WHAT JUSTICE CHELAMESWAR SAID ON 1o PER CENT QUOTA:

Justice (retd) Chelameswar
Retired judge of the Supreme Court, Justice J Chelameswar, said two days ago that the Indian Constitution does not have provisions to provide reservations for the economically weak sections of the society. Said he, “The Constitution only enables Parliament or the Legislative Assembly to make reservations for socially and educationally backward segments of the society, not the economically weaker sections. I do not know whether the present quota will be approved by court. I can only say the text of the Constitution does not provide for it.” IHN-NN

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