Gujarat is set to become the first state to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Sunday said the state would implement the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019, from Monday, ANI reported.
The development comes a day after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the 10 per cent reservation bill, which will be in addition to the existing cap of 50 per cent reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. The Constitution (124 Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and the Rajya Sabha a day later.
It may be recalled that way back in 2016, the Gujarat government under Anandiben Patel, had announced a similar 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward among upper castes, a move aimed at placating the influential Patidars who had launched a violent agitation seeking quota benefits.
However, the same year the Gujarat High Court quashed a government ordinance, holding that no quota could be granted on the basis of economic criteria because it was not provided for in the Constitution. In 1993, the apex court ruled that a state cannot provide more than 50 per cent reservation, and that reservation could only be allowed on “ground of social and educational backwardness and not poverty per se.”
According to the law, those who do not have land more than 5 acres, do not own residential plot more than 1,000 square feet and earn less than Rs 8 lakh per annum will be eligible for the reservation.
However, the new law has also been challenged in the Supreme Court by Youth for Equality, an organisation opposing caste-based reservations. The petition has stated that the law violated the equality code of the Constitution.