SC reserves order on plea over EWS reservation (Lead)

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the issue of referring to the constitution bench a petition on the constitutional amendment for providing 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS).

A bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde reserved the order on whether the matter requires to be referred to the constitution bench or not after hearing the parties.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said the 10 per cent reservation had not violated the basic structure of the Constitution.

Justifying the government decision, he said that reservation to the EWS was an attempt to benefit the poor in the general category who have been deprived of the facility so far.

He told the bench that the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019, granting 10 per cent reservation to EWS, is intended to uplift around 200 million people who are still below the poverty line even after 70 years of Independence.

The bench observed that poor people need the help of the state, not the rich ones and made it clear that it would deal with the issue of interim relief of a stay after deciding whether the matter was required to be referred to a Constitution bench.

The Attoney General also added 50 per cent limit is not mandatory, citing the Tamil Nadu High Court which has upheld state government decision granting more than 50 per cent reservation in the state.

He said that government must care for the welfare of the poor people.

Appearing for one of the petitioners, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan said the matter should be referred to a larger bench to decide the question of basic structure as the 103rd Amendment alters the definition of equality, a basic feature of the Constitution, in terms of both "width" and "identity".

Dhawan contended that 10 per cent quota for EWS was in breach of the ceiling declared by the top court by its earlier Constitution bench judgments.

On July 1, the apex court refused to stay the Centre's decision to grant 10 per cent quota in jobs and education to economically-weaker sections (EWS) of society, saying the matter required hearing at length.

On April 15, the Union Cabinet had approved provision of reservations in admission for EWS students in central educational institutions.

--IANS

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