SC to hear pleas against 10% EWS quota on May 2

New Delhi, Apr 8 (IANS) | Publish Date: 4/8/2019 12:51:04 PM IST

The Supreme Court will hear on May 2 a batch of applications seeking to put on hold the appointments being made under 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker section (EWS) of society in the unreserved category.

The petitions contended that 10 per cent quota for EWS was in breach of the 50 per cent ceiling declared by the top court by its earlier constitution bench judgments.

A bench of Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer on Monday agreed to hear applications as senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan said that appointments once made under 10 per cent quota would be difficult to be reversed at a later stage.

Dhavan said this as Justice Bobde said the court would say that all these appointments would be subject to outcome of the challenge to Constitution’s 103rd Amendment that provides for 10 per cent reservation beyond 50 per cent for the SC/ST and the OBCs. Opposing the plea, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said that the prayer was declined in February and March.

Dhavan replied that the court declined to hear the plea “at that stage” and did not not refused outright.

At the last hearing on March 11, the Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna had said they would consider on March 28 whether petitions challenging the 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for the EWS of unreserved categories should be referred to a larger bench.

CJI Gogoi during March 11 hearing had said: “If it (challenge to 10% EWS reservation) requires consideration by a larger bench, we will do it.”

On the next hearing on March 28, the matter got listed before the bench of Justice Bobde and Justice Nazeer as CJI Gogoi, Justice Gupta and Justice Khanna were part of the five-judge constitution bench that was hearing challenge to that part of the Finance Act 2017 that incorporated provisions relating to reorganization of the tribunals and the service conditions of their members.

The top court on January 25 sought the Centre’s response on a plea by NGO Youth for Equality challenging the constitutional validity of the 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the EWS within the general category.

The NGO had contended that the amendment violated the “basic structure” of the Constitution as cited in a 1992 Supreme Court judgment that held that economic criteria cannot be the sole basis of reservations under the Constitution.

It had also contended that the amendment breaches the 50 per cent cap set by the 1992 judgment by a nine-judge Constitution Bench and later by 2006 judgment, also known as Nagaraj judgment.

The top court by its 2006 judgment had said: “...State will have to show in each case the existence of compelling reasons, namely backwardness, inadequacy of representation and overall administrative efficiency, before making provision for reservation in promotion.”

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