The Supreme Court on Friday referred the Gujarat Government’s plea of quashing of its ordinance of providing 10 percent quota for the economically backwards among the unreserved category to a five judge Constitution bench of the apex court. The Supreme Court also said the admission of students under these quotas before August 8 wouldn’t be cancelled.
The next hearing on this matter is scheduled to be held after four weeks. Earlier, the Gujarat High Court had quashed the ordinance and stayed the operation of its order by a fortnight on the request of the state government to enable it to file an appeal in the apex court. The high court had termed the Gujarat government ordinance issued on May 1 as ‘inappropriate and unconstitutional’, and rejected the state government’s argument that it is a classification under the general category and not the reserved category.
The court had then maintained that such classification had the dangerous potential of breaching the 50 percent quota cap set up by the Supreme Court. The judgment came on a set of petitions challenging the ordinance, saying the 10 percent provision is against the limit of 50 percent reservation.
The petition filed by a group, including social activists, students and parents, had challenged the ordinance, claiming that it was contrary to the precedents established by the Supreme Court in 1990. The ordinance had declared reservation of 10 percent seats to candidates belonging to the unreserved category with family income cap of Rs. Six lakh annually in government jobs and educational institutions.
However, the state defended the Gujarat Unreserved Economically Weaker Sections (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Ordinance, 2016, stating that the provision of 10% quota was a classification of EWS and it should not be treated as reservation prescribed under the Constitution.