The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on whether to refer to a Constitution bench the pleas challenging Centre's decision to grant 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education to economically weaker section (EWS). Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that the move to grant 10 per cent reservation to the economicany backword section was aimed to uplift around 200 million people, who were still below the poverty line.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai was hearing a bunch of pleas challenging the validity of the act, saying that economic criteria can't be the sole basis for granting reservation.
Petitions have been filed by parties, including 'Janhit Abhiyan' and NGO 'Youth For Equality', challenging the Centre's decision. One of the petitioners has sought quashing of the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, saying economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation.
The petitioner had said the bill violates the basic feature of the Constitution as a reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general category and the overall 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached. The Centre has come out with the Constitutional amendment bill giving quota benefits to the poor among general category candidates.
The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cleared the bill on January 8 and 9 respectively, and it has been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind. The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.