A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Constitution Amendment that gives 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for economically weaker section of the general category.
The plea, filed by Youth for Equality, said the Amendment violates the "equality code of the Constitution" and hence violates the basic structure of the Constitution of India.
The plea has sought quashing of the Amendment providing reservation in jobs and educational institutions on the basis of economic criterion. It further sought a stay on the Amendment.
"The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 which has been swiftly piloted through both Houses of Parliament and passed with little debate in the first week of January 2019 is the subject matter of the present challenge on the ground that it violates several basic features of the Constitution," stated the plea.
The Constitution Amendments fail to consider that Articles 14 and 16 form the basic feature of equality and that they have been violated with the doing away of the restraints that were imposed on the reservation policy, i.e. the 50 per cent ceiling limit and the exclusion of economic status as a sole criterion.
The petitioner further contended that in Indira Sawhney (1992) judgement, the Constitution Bench specifically stated that the "economic criteria cannot be the sole basis for reservations under the Constitution".
"The Constitution Amendment completely violates the Constitutional norm that economic criterion cannot be the only basis of reservation as has been laid down by the 9 judges in Indira Sawhney, without removing the basis of the judgement. Such an Amendment is hence, vulnerable and ought to be struck down as it merely negates a binding judgement," the petition added.
The Amendment was also challenged on the ground that it confines the benefit of economic reservation only to general category candidates.
By way of the present amendments, the exclusion of the OBCs and the SCs/STs from the scope of the economic reservation essentially implies that only those who are poor from the general categories would avail the benefits of the quotas, the NGO in its plea further contended.
"Taken together with the fact that the high creamy layer limit of Rs 8 lakh per annum ensures that the elite in the OBCs and SCs/STs capture the reservation benefits repeatedly, the poor sections of these categories remain completely deprived. This is an overwhelming violation of the basic feature of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution and elsewhere," the petition stated.
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