SC refuses to stay 10% quota for poor in upper castes

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the decision to give 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections among upper castes and clubbed all petitions, including by Tahssen Poonawala, for early hearing.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to stay the government’s decision, which has now become law, to grant 10 per cent reservation to economically poor in the general category as a PIL by Poonawala contended that such a reservation was contrary to several pronouncements by the court.

Appearing for Poonawala, senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan said there was a cap of 50 per cent in the top court’s ruling in the Mandal Commission case that came in the wake of OBC reservation by the then V.P. Singh government.

Earlier, the top court on a petition by NGO Youth for Equality had sought response from the Centre and the states.

The top court had on January 25 sought the Centre’s response on a plea by NGO Youth for Equality challenging the constitutional validity of 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the economically weaker section within upper castes.

The petitioner NGO had contended that the amendment violated the “basic structure” of the Constitution as cited in a 1992 top court judgment that held that economic criteria cannot be the sole basis of reservations under the Constitution.

It has also contended that the amendment breaches the 50 per cent cap set by the top court by its 1992 judgment by a nine-judge Constitution Bench.