A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, challenging the bill to provide 10 per cent reservation to general category poor in jobs and education.
The petition, filed by Youth for Equality organisation and Kaushal Kant Mishra, sought the quashing of the bill, saying that the economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation. The plea said the bill violates basic feature of the Constitution as reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general categories and the 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached.
After more than a 10-hour long debate, the bill was finally passed unanimously by the Upper House of Parliament on Wednesday. The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
While most of the parties voiced their support for the bill, many questioned the benefits it would ultimately provide to the general classes for whom it was meant. “Reservation in jobs for the economically weaker sections is a noble idea. But where are the jobs? What will you ultimately achieve with this,” asked Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav.
“This bill is an acknowledgment of the fact that we haven’t created enough jobs. The only thing that this bill will do is redraw poverty lines. The new poverty line is Rs 2,100 per day,” said Trinamool Congress leader Derek O Brien.
The Reservation bill, introduced at the fag end of the winter session, comes just four months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and weeks after the BJP faced the wrath of the upper castes, especially in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, following its aggressive push to win over backward classes and Dalits, and is being seen as an attempt by the party to win over its core constituency of upper castes.