New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that it has no role in deciding the reservation policy of any state government, although the Constitution Act, 2019 passed by the Parliament enabled both Centre and the states to provide reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections of the society.
The Centre in an affidavit filed in the apex court said, “Whether or not to provide reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the society for appointment in state government jobs and for admission to state government educational institutions, as per the provisions of the newly inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution, is to be decided by the concerned state government.”
The Centre filed the response after the apex court had in August last year issued a notice to it on a PIL filed by advocate G.S. Mani seeking direction to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to implement 10 per cent quota in jobs and education for EWS of the society as per the mandate of the 103rd Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 2019.
The petitioner contended that neither Tamil Nadu nor Karnataka implemented this amendment yet. He argued that in Tamil Nadu, all political parties have opposed it.
In the affidavit, the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment contended that the reason behind the Constitutional amendment was to promote social equality by providing opportunities in higher education and employment to the weaker sections of the society, which have been excluded by virtue of their economic status.
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019, and by the Rajya Sabha on January 9, 2019. On January 12, 2019, the President gave his assent on it. The Act was notified by the Law Ministry as the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019.
Mani’s plea said that the Amendment Act prescribed a maximum limit of 10 per cent reservation to EWS in addition to the existing reservation to SC/ST/BC/OBC/MBC or any other category. Therefore, it nowhere affected or infringed anybody’s fundamental rights to equality; rather it gave rights of equal participation and representation to the EWS.
Mani contended that reservation for the EWS was not only a Constitutional right, but also a fundamental right.