The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Central government on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the 10% reservation to economically weaker upper castes. The apex court has granted the Centre three weeks to respond to the notice.
The court, however, refused to grant an interim stay on the operation of The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019.
The two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a plea filed by NGO Youth for Equality, who stated that the amendment violates the basic structure of the Constitution.
According to LiveLaw, the petition also stated that the amendment, which makes room for providing quota up to 10% to economically weaker sections in addition to the existing reservations, breaches the 50% cap set by Supreme Court.
At present, reservations account for a total of 49.5%, with 15%, 7.5% and 27% quotas for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) respectively.
The plea added that the amendment is also unsustainable as it imposes reservation in private unaided educational institutions, which is also against previous judgements made by the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, the Cabinet approved a 10% quota for economically backward upper castes. The quota applies to those belonging to upper castes who earn less than Rs 8 lakh per annum and for those applying for public employment and in educational institutions. However, there is no quota for those owning land covering 5 acres and above and for those who have residential houses of 1,000 square foot and above.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 was passed by Parliament on the last day of the winter session last week with day-long discussions and voting in both Houses. The Act amends Articles 15 (Prohibition of discrimination) and 16 (Equality of opportunities in public employment) of the Constitution, paving the way for quota to the general category.
The DMK has moved Madras High Court against the amendment stating that it violates the basic structure of the Constitution and that reservation cannot be based on economic status but must be implemented for the purpose of social justice only.