Upper caste quota to hit constitutional roadblocks: Sibal

New Delhi: Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said the government’s decision to give 10 per cent quota to economically weaker sections in the general category has been taken with “non-application of mind” and it would face constitutional hurdles.

If the bill is passed, the implementation of the reservation due to complexities involved and absence of required data with the government would be “like demonetisation”, he said.

Calling it a “jumala” (gimmick), Sibal said: “Kamal ka hamla, aur ek jumala (attack of lotus, one more gimmick).”

Speaking during the discussion on the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the Rajya Sabha, he questioned “the hurry” shown by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.

“What was the hurry? The bill could have been sent to the Select Committee. There would have been discussions and suggestions before it was introduced (in Parliament),” he said.

Sibal asked if the government has collected required data about demographic structure before bringing the bill.

“Mandal Commission’s report had come in 1980 and introduced in 1982 for the first time. And it was passed in 1990, almost 10 years later,” he said.

“Here, you want to do everything in one day. Do you find it fine? You are doing it without any data. The government must let us know if there is any report prepared before fixing the parameters for the quota.”

Sibal said the bill may face hurdle as the Supreme Court had “struck down” 10 per cent reservation for “economically weaker category” suggested by the Mandal Commission terming it unconstitutional.

If the percentage of reservation crosses 50 per cent, it is violative of Article 14 and that is why, the decision of approving 69 per cent reservation by Tamil Nadu is still in the Supreme Court, he said.

“It is a very complex constitutional issue…and you brought the bill without applying mind or sending it to the Select Committee,” he said.

The Supreme Court lawyer questioned the government about its intention to approve the quota when jobs in the country are on the decline.

“Jobs are created. But more jobs are lost than what is created. Be it public sector, private sector or IT sector,” said Sibal, adding that year-on-year growth in the Central government jobs since 2001 was just 0.4 per cent.