Caste-based reservation violates Constn basic structure: SC

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New Delhi, Nov 4 (UNI) Caste-based reservation were encouraging divisive forces in the country posing a great threat to the integrity of the nation, the Supreme Court was told today.

Senior counsel Rama Jois was opening the arguments for the petitioners challenging the government notification providing reservation for the OBC candidates in Panchayat elections.

Mr Jois also contended before a five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran, D K Jain, P Sathasivam and J M Panchal that wholesale reservation given to the OBC solely on the basis of the caste also violated the basic structure of the Constitution of India.

He also contended that the apex court has repeatedly disapproved caste as the basis for the reservation and the reservation is a concession only for socially and educationally backward segments of the population and therefore the reservation is meant for a class which is socially and educationally backward and not for any caste.

The senior counsel also pleaded that wholesale reservation has been given without any criteria to determine the backwardness of the beneficiaries.

He cited the example of Karnataka where according to him majority of MPs and MLAs belong to OBC category.

He cited the nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney case also known as Mandal Commission case in which the apex court had fixed upper limit for reservations at 50 per cent.

Under the impugned notification, the quota provided for OBCs on the basis of caste and for women on the basis of sex, in some states has exceeded 80 per cent of the total seats in Panchayat elections.

According to the petitioners in some cases, SC/ST dominated seats have been given to OBC candidates under the quota policy and these OBC candidates do not represent the population of the constituency.

The Supreme Court directions for exclusion of creamy layer from OBC reservations are also being flouted.

The arguments will continue tomorrow.

UNI SC NY RP HT2005

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