“Cannot base reservation on economic status”: DMK moves HC against upper caste quota

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The petition argues that the reservation policy for economically weaker sections of society violates the basic structure of the Constitution.

Days after India’s parliament authorized the constitutional amendment providing a ten percent reserve for “economically weaker” upper castes, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) approached the Madras High Court, seeking to overturn the ruling. constitutional amendment.

On Friday, DMK MK Rajya Sabha and Party Organizing Secretary RS Bharathi petitioned the court, explaining that the rationale for the reservation policy that was first introduced in 1951 was social justice. The petition argues that the reservation policy for economically weaker sections of society violates the basic structure of the Constitution.

“The concept of reserve, being an exception to the equality clause, is only justified when it is used for the purpose of uplifting communities that have suffered discrimination and oppression such as the CBO, the SCs and the ST. Economic criteria alone cannot be the basis for a reservation because the reservation is not a poverty reduction program, ”says the DMK petition, citing several previous verdicts of the Supreme Court in which it had ruled that economic status could not be the only criterion for booking.

Regarding the case of Tamil Nadu, which has a 69 percent reservation policy for backward classes, Dalits and Adivasis, the petition says the new amendment allows new reservations up to a total of 79 for hundred in the state.

Detailing the discussion of the first Indian Parliament on whether affirmative action was contrary to the principle of equality, the petition states: (4) was based on economic status or caste. To this, Dr BR Ambedkar’s response reflects the intention of the editors. He said that “as I said, the Drafting Committee had to produce a formula which would reconcile these three points of view, on the one hand, that there will be equality of opportunity, on the other hand that there will be equality of opportunity. will have reservations in favor of certain communities which have not so far had a “proper check” so to speak in the administration. Therefore, it is clear that the concept of reserve itself is not in reference to the economic status of a person but rather in reference to the community to which he belongs, with the idea of ​​integrating this community into the general education and employment system. “

Describing “the heinous nature of caste discrimination in India,” the petition goes on to state: “It is an incomparable phenomenon, which has denied basic human dignity to a large section of Indians for several centuries. Naturally, as a result. , over the centuries, people belonging to these “lower castes” were separated from academic circles, were not allowed to be employed where the “upper” castes worked and, as a result, their entire families rotted in the city. poverty and exclusion, while the “upper castes” the castes were educated and enriched.The effect of this systemic discrimination was not only economic, it was also social and psychological.

Stating that the bill itself was “forced” on Lok Sabha where it was not on the agenda, the DMK petition says that “copies of the bill have not even been provided to Members sufficiently in advance to allow Members to consider it, have serious deliberation and consult with their constituents. “

The petition points out, however, that the economic criterion has been used as a filter to exclude the “creamy layer”, ie people belonging to the backward class but who are economically advanced. The petition also adds that since the contested amendments do not define the term “economically weaker sections”, this would lead to different states adopting different standards.


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