A day after Rajya Sabha cleared the Constitution Amendment Bill on providing 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the economically weaker sections in the general category, NGO Youth For Equality on Thursday moved the Supreme Court, contending that the Bill was liable to be quashed as it was contrary to the principles laid down by the apex court in the matter of reservation.
The petition said that in the 1992 decision in Indra Sawhney Vs. Union of India, popularly known as the Mandal Commission case, a Constitution Bench of the court had “specifically stated that the economic criteria cannot be the sole basis for reservation under the Constitution.”
“…such an Amendment is hence, vulnerable and ought to be struck down as it merely negates a binding judgement,” it said.
The NGO contended that the policy was also violative of the equality principle enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution. “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. 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,” the petition said.
The petition pointed out that the court, in its 2006 judgment in M Nagaraj Vs. Union of India & Ors, had said that reservation should not breach the 50 per cent ceiling.
The Nagaraj judgment also required that in order to impose reservation, there must be some sort of quantitative exercise undertaken in advance.
“There has been absolutely no such attempt made to arrive at the ad-hoc 10% figure…”, the NGO contended.
Alleging that the Bill was brought with an eye on the vote bank, the petition said, “Instead of exploring other alternatives as directed by this Hon’ble Court, the Respondents have taken to amending the Constitution repeatedly so that a populist measure can be permitted to flourish with a clear eye on the vote bank,” it said.