The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre after a plea was filed against its decision to introduce 10% reservation for the economically weak among upper castes, Bar and Bench reported. The court said it would examine the matter but refused to stay the implementation of the law. It will hear the petitions again in four weeks.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna heard a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional amendments, which came into force on January 14. One of the petitions was filed by anti-reservation organisation Youth for Equality.

The legislation, passed by Parliament on January 9, provides reservations for the poor among the upper castes in both aided and unaided institutions. Youth for Equality has alleged that the amendment bill violates the basic features of the Constitution and economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation.

Youth for Equality questioned the timing of the government’s move and said the reservation law would “open a Pandora’s box” as “more and more political parties/caste groups will claim for increased percentage of reservations, both at the central and state level”.

The organisation said that reservation in itself should not be the goal. “Other forms of affirmative actions, like good schooling, scholarships, financial grants, hostels, etc., should be increased and reservation should be gradually tapered off,” it said. “With this bill, the government/Parliament must announce a time-bound plan to phase out the reservations.”

Other entities, such as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Dravidar Kazhagam political parties in Tamil Nadu, have also moved court against the legislation. The Madras High Court issued a notice to the Centre on January 21 based on the DMK’s petition.