Supreme Court To Hear Pleas Challenging 10% Reservation On April 8
Supreme Court of India. (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg)

Supreme Court To Hear Pleas Challenging 10% Reservation On April 8

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The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would hear on April 8 a batch of pleas challenging the government’s decision to grant 10 percent reservation in jobs and admission for candidates of economically weaker sections.

The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the central government, sought adjournment saying he and Attorney General KK Venugopal were appearing in the matter on Thursday before a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

"I am on my legs before the constitution bench. Please accommodate me," he told the bench.

On the matter whether the batch of petitions on the reservation issue was needed to be referred to a constitution bench, Mehta said the AG has "to say something" on it.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for one of the petitioners, said the issue should be heard by a constitution bench.

The bench, after a brief hearing, said it would hear the matter on April 8.

On March 11, the apex court said it was not in favour of passing an order at this stage to refer the issue of 10 percent quota for economically weaker sections across all classes to a constitution bench.

The court had said it will consider on March 28 whether the matter is required to be referred to a constitution bench.

The apex court had earlier refused to stay the government's decision to grant 10 percent quota in jobs and admissions to poor candidates in the general category.

However, the court had agreed to examine the validity of the law and issued a notice to the government on the pleas.

One of the petitioners has sought quashing of the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019, saying economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation.

The petitioner has said the bill violates the basic feature of the Constitution as reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general category and the overall 50 percent ceiling limit cannot be breached.

The government 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 Jan. 8 and 9 respectively, and it has been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The quota will be over and above the existing 50 percent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

Also read: Will Modi’s Double-Edged Quota Gamble Reap Electoral Gains?

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