Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on plea challenging 10% quota for the economically backward

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the government's response to a petition challenging the 10 per cent economic reservation. The plea said the quota violated the basic features of the Constitution and contradicted several judgments of the Court protecting the fundamental rights.

A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notice to the government and ordered it to reply within three weeks.

The petition, filed by Youth For Equality, represented by advocate Senthil Jagadeesan and settled by advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, contended that the Court, in a nine-judge Bench judgment in the Indira Sawhney case, had settled the law that economic backwardness cannot be the sole basis for reservation. 

The plea argued that the Constitutional Amendment Bill is “vulnerable” and negated a binding judgment of the top court.

The petition said the amendments excluded the OBC and the SC/ST communities from the scope of the economic reservation. This, it said, “essentially implies that only those who are poor from the general categories would avail the benefits of the quotas.”

It said, “The Supreme Court has upheld the equality code as one of the foremost basic features of the Constitution… the value of equality has been repeatedly emphasized to ensure that equals are not treated unequally.”

It said the high creamy layer limit of Rs. 8 lakh per annum ensured that the elite captured the reservation benefits.

The petition noted that the 50% ceiling limit of quota had been “engrafted as a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution’s equality code” by the Court.

It said the Court had settled the law that the “State’s reservation policy cannot be imposed on unaided educational institutions, and as they are not receiving any aid from the State, they can have their own admissions provided they are fair, transparent, non-exploitative and based on merit”.

The plea stated, “While the impugned amendment attempts to overcome the applicability of Articles 19(1)(g) and 29(2), it remains completely silent on Article 14, which right protects the citizens from manifestly arbitrary State action.”

The petition also contended that the term “economically weaker sections” remained undefined in the Bill along with the “ambiguous” term of "State."

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 9:33:53 PM |

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