SC to consider sending 10% quota law challenge to Constitution Bench

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  1. The Supreme Court has decided to consider whether the plea challenging the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act should be heard by a Constitution Bench.
  2. The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act provides for 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker section in the unreserved category.
  3. The Act amends Article 15 and 16 to provide for reservation based on economic backwardness. However, the SC in Indira Sawhney case (1992) has upheld that a backward class cannot be determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion. Further, the Court had set the limit for reservations at 50%.  It is only for extra-ordinary reasons that this percentage may be exceeded.
  4. The petitioners have argued that the law is in violation to the basic Structure of the constitution as a) completely violates the Constitutional norm that economic criterion cannot be the only basis of reservation, b) violative of the equality principle enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution as it excludes OBCs, SCs and STs from the scope of economic reservation c) breaching of 50% cap is violative of Article 14.
  5. The plea has also challenged Rs. 8 lakh per annum creamy layer limit and argued that such a high limit would lead to elites reaping the benefits of reservations.
  6. The plea has also challenged the law on the ground that it provides for reservation in private unaided educational institutions, which has been clearly barred by the SC in previous judgements.