The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will examine whether the 10% quota for upper caste economically weak aspirants in government jobs and college admissions, violated the basic structure of the Constitution, Live Law reported.
The Union government introduced the economically weaker sections quota for those who do not fall under reservations granted for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, but have an annual family income of less than Rs 8 lakh. However, if the family owns more than 5 acres of agricultural land or 1,000 square feet of residential land, the person will not be eligible.
Last year, the Supreme Court had made a prima facie observation that these criteria seemed arbitrary. Since the income criteria of Rs 8 lakh per annum were used to exclude the “creamy layer” from the Other Backward Classes quota, the court questioned if the Centre had mechanically included the distinction for economically weaker sections as well.
On Thursday, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who collated the contentions of various petitioners challenging the quota, told the court that some counsels wanted to know if the amendment violated the basic structure of the Constitution by not excluding the creamy layer from the economically weaker sections quota, The Indian Express reported.
In response, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the question of the creamy layer does not arise when the court was talking about the “poorest of the poor”.
A Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice UU Lalit, said it wants to examine if the basic structure of the Constitution was violated by allowing the State to make special provisions about admission to private unaided institutions. It will also check if the reservation framework was hampered by excluding Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the scope of the quota.
The court will start hearing the matter on September 13.