SC refuses to stay 10% quota for poor in jobs, education, but agrees to examine Centre’s decision

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the executive order of the Centre implementing the law providing for 10 per cent quota for the poor in jobs and higher education.

A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to the Centre seeking response in four weeks. The apex court also refused to pass orders to the effect that whatever appointments they make under the new reservation policy would be subject to the outcome of the case before it. “We are examining the matter,” said the Supreme Court bench.

The SC had sought the Centre’s response on a plea by NGO Youth for Equality challenging the constitutional validity of 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the economically weaker section within upper castes.

The petitioner has contended that the amendment violated the “basic structure” of the Constitution as cited in a 1992 top court judgment that held that economic criteria cannot be the sole basis of reservations under the Constitution.

It has also contended that the amendment breaches the 50 per cent cap set by the top court by its 1992 judgment by a nine-judge Constitution Bench.

“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 of the benefits of the quotas,” said the public interest litigation.

The amendment inserts Article 15(6) which enables the State to make special provisions for advancement of any economically weaker section of citizens, including reservations in educational institutions.

And Article 16(6) enables the State to make provision for reservation in appointments, in addition to the existing reservations, subject to a maximum of 10 per cent. At present, reservations account for a total of 49.5 per cent.

(With inputs from IANS)