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NEWS OF THE DAY – Lok Sabha passes quota Bill that provides reservation
- January 9, 2019
- Posted by: Shivam
- Category: NEWS Worth To Read
NEWS OF THE DAY – Lok Sabha passes quota Bill that provides reservation to economically backward
NEWS OF THE DAY – 319 members vote for the measure
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a Bill allowing 10% quota in employment and education for the general category candidates who belong to the economically weaker sections.
The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, introduced by Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot, was cleared by majority of the members (319) voting for it, and four against. The Rajya Sabha will take it up on Wednesday.
However, the Opposition questioned the timing and haste with which the government introduced the Bill, on the last day of the winter session.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “I request all to support the motion. The quota Bill is aimed at equality for all.” He said the manifestos of most parties promised quotas for the economically weaker sections, and “their commitment to their promise is put to test today.” “The Congress, in its 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto, had promised reservation for the economically weaker sections,” he said.
Congress member K.V. Thomas said the Centre was hasty in introducing the Bill and accused it of bringing it in with an eye on the general election. Accusing the Centre of “butchering democracy” and saying that there was no time to even read the bill fully.He said the Congress was not opposed to the Bill, but wanted the measure sent to a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The 10% reservation will be over and above the 50% stipulated by the Supreme Court and is expected to benefit a huge section of upper castes, including Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakurs), Jats, Marathas and Bhumihars and trading castes like Kapus and Kammas. The economically deprived among the poor in the other religions will also benefit.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ramvilas Paswan said: “The country is more important than caste” and demanded that reservation be extended to the private sector and juridical service. “People who were opposing reservation are now part of this 10% reservation,” he said. “So now they will not oppose reservation.” He said people who were rich during British colonial rule were possibly poor now.
Sudip Bandyopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress asked why the government did not take up the women reservation Bill with the same priority. This Bill was not only about jobs but also about misleading the youth with false hopes and fake dreams, he said. “There are over 85,000 vacancies in the railways and 25 million people have applied for them,” he noted.
Shiv Sena member Anandrao Adsul said his party backed the Bill, though the Centre’s decision to introduce it at the fag end of its term raised doubts. “This Bill proves that caste-based and economic exploitations are different and not linked,” Telangana Rashtra Samithi member Jithender Reddy said. However, he said the Centre was opposed to the Telangana government’s move to give reservation for the economically backward Muslims.
10% quota Bill may fail legal test
Economic backwardness cannot be the sole criterion, nine-judge Constitution Bench has ruled
A proposed law, which got Cabinet approval on Monday, to provide 10% reservation for upper castes (or the unreserved category) exclusively with reference to their economic backwardness may run into rough weather if challenged in the Supreme Court.
A nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney case of 1992 specifically answered the question “whether backward classes can be identified only and exclusively with reference to the economic criterion.”
It categorically held that “a backward class cannot be determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion.”
“It may be a consideration or basis along with, and in addition to, social backwardness, but it can never be the sole criterion. This is the view uniformly taken by this court…” said the majority judgment authored by Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy, now retired.
The Indira Sawhney judgment declared 50% quota as the rule unless extraordinary situations “inherent in the great diversity of this country and the people” happen. Even then, extreme caution is to be exercised and a special case should be made out.
If the government proposes to bring a constitutional amendment to include the 10% quota for “unreserved economically weaker sections”, the 13-judge Kesavananda Bharati judgment may stand in the way. The judgment held that constitutional amendments which offended the basic structure of the Constitution would be ultra vires. Neither Parliament nor legislatures could transgress the basic feature of the Constitution, namely, the principle of equality enshrined in Article 14.
The government, it is reported, proposes to bring the 10% over and above the 49.5% quota — 15% for Scheduled Castes, 7.5% for Scheduled Tribes and 27% for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, including widows and orphans of any caste, which is permitted. But a total 59% (49%+10%) quota would leave other candidates with just 41% government jobs or seats. This may amount to “sacrifice of merit” and violate Article 14.
This proposed Bill finds an echo in an ordinance promulgated in Gujarat in 2016. The ordinance provided 10% quota to upper castes there.
All the arguments here are based on the 104-page judgment of the Gujarat High Court in the Dayaram Khemkaran Verma versus State of Gujarat, which quashed the ordinance in August 2016. The case has been referred to a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court
Gujarat had justified the ordinance by referring to how Article 46 of the Constitution, which deals with the Directive Principles of the State Policy, required the State to promote weaker sections.
It had categorised the 10% quota as a ‘reasonable classification’ under Article 14 and not ‘reservation’. It said the 50% ceiling limit in the Indira Sawhney judgment applied only to SC/ST and SEBC.But the High Court said “reservation is nothing but an act of booking, kept blank, destined for a particular use of a particular person.”
The court observed that the “unreserved category itself is a class” and economic criteria was too fluctuating a basis for providing quota.
Source- The Hindu
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