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Quota for poor not aimed at forward castes: Centre to HC

The Centre on Monday contended before the Madras High Court that a recent amendment to the Constitution providing 10% reservation in jobs and higher education to ‘economically weaker sections (EWS)’ in the open competition category, was “not a communal reservation” aimed at the so called “forward castes.” Appearing before a Division Bench of Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, Additional Solicitor General G. Rajagopalan said the intent of the constitutional amendment was to provide reservations on the basis of economic criteria to all communities other than those already benefiting from reservations. Tussle over terms When the senior judge pointed out that providing reservations for people except those who were socially and educationally backward as well as those belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes would naturally refer to ‘forward caste,’ the ASG said, the right term that could be used was ‘other communities’ and not ‘forward caste.’ He also contended that what had been intended for the EWS was vertical and not horizontal reservation. However, insisting on written submissions, the judges ordered notices, returnable by February 18, to the Centre as well as the State government on a writ petition filed by DMK organising secretary R.S. Bharathi challenging the amendment. Opposing the petition vigorously, the ASG accused the petitioner, a Rajya Sabha MP, of having filed the case with a political motive. “He is not an aggrieved party because he was part of the process through which a Bill to amend the Constitution was passed by the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha, no matter in which way he voted,” Mr. Rajagopalan contended. Recording his strong objection to such submissions, senior counsel P. Wilson, representing the writ petitioner, said: “I thought he’ll reply to my arguments legally but he is replying politically.” The counsel said providing reservations based on economic criteria would amount to altering the basic structure of the Constitution.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/quota-for-poor-not-aimed-at-forward-castes-centre-to-hc/article26055995.ece

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