It is up to States to provide 10% EWS quota: Centre

Centre responds to charge that law is not implemented in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

Updated - January 08, 2020 10:35 am IST

Published - January 07, 2020 10:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Quota cauldron: The law has been put in place for people not covered under the 50% reservation policy.

Quota cauldron: The law has been put in place for people not covered under the 50% reservation policy.

The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that it would be the States’ prerogative to provide 10% economic reservation in government jobs and admission to education institutions.

“Whether or not to provide reservation to the economically weaker section in appointment to State government jobs and admission to State government educational institutions, as per provisions of the newly inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution, is to be decided by the State government concerned,” the Centre said in an affidavit.

The Centre was responding to a writ petition from Supreme Court advocate G.S. Mani complaining that the economic reservation law was not being implemented in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

However, the Centre said its Department of Social Justice and Empowerment “has no role in deciding the reservation policy of any State government”.

As per the notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training on January 19, 2019, persons whose family has a gross annual income below ₹8 lakh are identified as those belonging to the economically weaker section. It said the 10% reservation law was enacted to promote the welfare of the poor not covered by the 50% reservation policy for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes.

It has been nearly six months since a Bench, led by Justice Sharad A. Bobde, now the Chief Justice of India, has reserved orders on the preliminary question that whether a bunch of writ petitions challenging the economic reservation law should be referred to a Constitution Bench.

The court had refused to pass any interim order to stay or hamper the implementation of the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, which provides for the 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically backward in the unreserved category.

The petitions have, however, challenged the validity of the law, saying the 50% quota limit is part of the basic structure of the Constitution, and the new law whas tinkered with it. The economic reservation was introduced in the Constitution by amending Articles 15 and 16 and adding clauses empowering the government to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.

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