The government's 10 per cent quota for the economically weak in job and education will not be put on hold, the Supreme Court said today while hearing petitions requesting for the reservation policy to be kept on hold.
A bench headed by the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it will hear the petitions on March 28 and will consider whether the matter is required to be referred to a Constitution Bench.
The government, in January, had announced the 10 per cent quota in jobs and education to candidates who belong to the economically weaker sections in the general category.
Today, the top court said it is not in favour of passing an order at this stage to refer the issue of 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections across all classes to a Constitution Bench.
The court asked the petitioners to file a short note of the points which they have raised in application.
The government's move came just three months ahead of the national election which begins on April 11.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called the quota a big step towards social justice. "Annaya ki bhavna khatam ho (the sense of injustice should end). We wanted equality of opportunity," he had said.
The Congress has alleged that the quota is an election gimmick.
A batch of petitions challenge the decision, which takes the total quotas beyond the 50 per cent cap set by the Supreme Court. Under the new law, those who earn less than Rs. 8 lakh a year and have less than five acre land qualify for the quota.
The petitions say the top court's Mandal Commission verdict in 1992 had "specifically stated that the economic criteria cannot be the sole basis for reservation under the Constitution."