Parliament should pass law on reservations to exceed 50-percent cap: Congress

Ramesh said the limit of 50 percent is not mandated by the Constitution but has been decided through various Supreme Court decisions.


Published Jun 30, 2024 | 5:07 PM Updated Jun 30, 2024 | 5:07 PM

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

The Congress on Sunday, 30 June, said Parliament should pass a law to enable reservations to exceed the 50-percent cap, a day after NDA constituent JD(U) demanded that the quota increase in Bihar be included in the 9th schedule of the Constitution.

At a meeting of the Janata Dal-United’s national executive in New Delhi on Saturday, the party expressed concern over a recent Patna High Court verdict striking down the Bihar government’s decision to increase the quota for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) to 65 percent from 50 percent.

In a political resolution passed at the meet, the JD(U) urged the BJP-led Centre to put the state’s law under the Constitution’s 9th Schedule to rule out its judicial review.

Also Read: NSS in Kerala seeks to end caste reservation

Demands Constitutional amendment

In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said throughout the Lok Sabha poll campaign, the Opposition party has been saying that all state laws related to reservation for the SCs, STs and all backward classes should be included in the 9th Schedule, as was the case for a Tamil Nadu law in 1994.

“It is a good thing that JD(U) has made the same demand in Patna yesterday. But its ally BJP, both in the state and at the Centre, is completely silent on this matter,” Ramesh said.

“However, bringing reservation laws beyond the 50 percent limit into the Ninth Schedule is also not a solution, because according to a 2007 Supreme Court decision, such laws are also subject to judicial review,” the former Union minister said, adding that a Constitution amendment law is required for the purpose.

“In such a situation, the only way out is for the Parliament to pass a Constitution Amendment Bill which will enable the reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and All Backward Classes to exceed 50 percent,” he said.

Ramesh said the current limit of 50 percent is not explicitly mandated by the Constitution but has been decided through various Supreme Court decisions.

“This was and remains one of the main guarantees of the Indian National Congress for the Lok Sabha elections. Will the non-biological Prime Minister clear his stand? Our demand is that such a Bill should be introduced in the next session of Parliament. JD(U) should not be limited to just passing resolutions,” he added.

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