Too Much Quota May Impact Right To Equal Opportunity: SC

By Moderator July 31, 2019 11:10

The Supreme Court on Tuesday orally remarked that excessive quota may impact the right to equal opportunity guaranteed under the Constitution.

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  • Justice S.A. Bobde, leading a three-judge Bench, said quota benefits given to the most “forward” classes, especially to those who had no qualification whatsoever, would result in “excess” reservation and breach equality.
  • The Bench is examining whether to refer to a Constitution Bench a batch of petitions challenging the validity of a constitutional amendment providing 10% economic quota in government jobs and educational institutions.
  • Petitioner argued that the economic reservation violated the 50% reservation ceiling limit fixed by a nine-judge Bench in the Indra Sawhney case. Further, the 1992 judgment had barred reservation solely on economic criterion.
    • In a 6:3 majority verdict, the apex court, in the Indra Sawhney case, had held that “a backward class cannot be determined only and exclusively with reference to economic criterion… It may be a consideration or basis along with and in addition to social backwardness, but it can never be the sole criterion.
    • After a gap of 27 years, the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act of 2019 has provided 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the “economically backward” in the unreserved category.
    • The Act amends Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution by adding clauses empowering the government to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.
    • This 10% economic reservation is over and above the 50% reservation cap.
  • The government, represented by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, however, has justified to the apex court that the 10% economic quota law was a move towards a classless and casteless society.
    • It said the law was meant to benefit a “large section of the population of 135 crore people” who are mostly lower middle class and below the poverty line.

Equality of Opportunity in Public Employment

  • Right to equal opportunity is one of the basic fundamental rights that the constitution of India guarantees to all the citizens of the country.
  • Article 16 deals with the equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
    • Article 16 is an instance of the application of the general rule with special reference to the opportunity of appointments under the State.
    • It says that there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
  • Equal opportunity is a term which has differing definitions and there is no consensus as to the precise meaning. The Constitution of India has given a wide interpretation of this article. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) principles apply to:
    • Access to jobs
    • Conditions of employment
    • Relationships in the workplace
    • The evaluation of performance and
    • The opportunity for training and career development.

Also read: Quota Politics UP Government To Include 17 OBC Groups Among Scheduled Castes

By Moderator July 31, 2019 11:10