Plea in Supreme Court challenges 10% quota for general category poor

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A plea challenging the Centre's decision to grant 10 per cent quota to economically weaker people of general category in jobs and education was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday.

The plea, challenging the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 which paved the way for grant of reservation to poor general category candidates, has been filed by businessman Tehseen Poonawalla and is likely to come up for hearing during the week.

It has sought the quashing of the bill saying that backwardness for the purpose of reservation cannot be defined by "economic status alone".

"The Constitutional amendment formally violated the law laid down by the Supreme Court's 1992 ruling in Indira Sawhney case...and the principle that backwardness for the purposes of reservation cannot be defined on economic status alone but must be rooted in social exclusion," it said.

It referred to the 1992 nine-judge bench verdict, also known as Mandal case, and said it was laid down that the overall reservation cannot exceed 50 per cent but the recent Bill has breached that, taking the limit to almost 60 per cent.

The plea 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.

The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha cleared the Bill on January 8 and 9 respectively and it has also been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind.

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