The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Central government after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the recent law enacted to provide 10 percent reservation in government jobs and higher education to economically weaker sections of the general category.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna heard the petition filed by the NGO Youth for Equality which contended that the Constitution (103rd) Amendment Act, 2019, violated the "basic structure" of the Constitution, reported LiveLaw.
The Bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament on 8 and 9 January. It was approved by the President on 12 January. On 14 January, the Act came into force.
The government was given four weeks to respond to the notice. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was present at the hearing, requested the bench to assert that there was "no stay" on the law yet, reported NDTV. However, the Chief Justice said, "We are only issuing a notice now."
The petition cited a Supreme Court order by a nine-judge bench in 1992 Indra Sawhney case stating economic backwardness cannot be the basis of reservation in jobs and education where the basis should instead be on social background, reported Hindustan Times. "Such an Amendment is hence, vulnerable and ought to be struck down as it merely negates a binding judgment," said the PIL.
Further, the petition argues that the 50 percent ceiling limit for reservation which has been laid down in the "M Nagaraj versus Union of India & Others" case cannot be breached as the same has been engrafted as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution of India’s equality code, reported Bar and Bench.
The PIL has also challenged the 10 percent quota law on the grounds that the amendment also provides for reservation in private and government unaided educational institutions, where reservations have been barred by the top court through two previous judgments.
A separate petition, filed by Tehseen Poonawalla, further sought a stay in implementing newly inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) in the Constitution of India which empowered the government to grant quota to the poor of the general category candidates.
Among state governments that have approved the quota law are Gujarat, Assam and Uttar Pradesh. Opposition parties had labelled the quota law an "election gimmick" by the ruling BJP.
Updated Date: Jan 25, 2019 12:04:33 IST