10% upper caste quota Bill gets President's assent

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 12

President Ram Nath Kovind today ratified the Bill passed by Parliament on January 9 to provide 10 per cent quota  in jobs and education to economically weaker sections in the General Category. 

This was the last leg of the legislative process and the 10 per cent reservation Bill is a law now. The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The Constitution (103rd) Amendment Act was cleared by both Houses of Parliament this week even as Opposition leaders questioned the Union Government’s “haste” in pushing the Bill just four months before the General Election.

A senior Law and Justice Ministry official said the sequence of the Act as 103rd constitutional amendment reflects the number of assents given by the President, while the Bill in Parliament was introduced as 124th constitutional amendment. The official said this showed that at least 20-odd constitutional amendment Bills were pending in Parliament. 

The 10 per cent quota covers nearly 190 million people from the General Category.

A notification by the Ministry of Law and Justice said the Act would come into force from a date to be announced by the government.

The Act amends Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution by adding a clause which allows states to make “special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens”.

These “special provisions” would relate to “their admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, other than the minority educational institutions”.

It also makes it clear that reservation would be “in addition to the existing reservations and subject to a maximum of 10 per cent of the total seats in each category”.

“For the purposes of this Article and Article 16, ‘economically weaker sections’ shall be such as may be notified by the state from time to time on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage,” the notification reads.

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