The Dravidar Kazhagam party on Tuesday challenged the Centre’s legislation granting 10% reservation to the economically weak among upper castes in the Madras High Court. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had moved the Madras High Court on Monday, following which the court issued a notice to the Centre.

A division bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad said the Dravidar Kazhagam’s public interest litigation would be heard together with the DMK’s petition on February 18, PTI reported.

Petitioner Kali Poongundran, the vice president of the Dravidar Kazhagam, argued that economic criteria alone cannot be the basis for reservations. He also said that the Preamble to the Indian Constitution has declared that justice refers to social, economic and political justice.

Poongundran claimed that the Centre passed the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Fourth Amendment) Bill in a hurry, without adequate discussion. The Dravidar Kazhagam vice president said that the passage of the bill had “political undertones”. He added that 69% reservation was already in force in Tamil Nadu, and the new law would increase this to 79%.

Meanwhile, businessman Tehseen Poonawalla filed a plea against the legislation in the Supreme Court on Monday. “The constitutional amendment formally violated the law laid down by the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Indira Sawhney case [where the court ruled that overall reservation cannot exceed 50%],” the businessman said. The petition also sought a stay on the implementation of the newly-added Articles 15(6) and 16(6) in the Constitution.

The bill was passed 323-3 in the Lok Sabha on January 8 and was approved the following day in the Rajya Sabha. The legislation seeks to provide 10% reservations in aided and unaided institutions to the economically backward from upper castes.