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The Madras High Court has issued notice to the union government to reply by February 18 on a petition that challenged the centre’s decision to give 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker section in general category.

The DMK organising secretary RS Bharathi had filed a writ plea challenging the government’s decision that has since been ratified by parliament earlier this month.

In its public interest petition, the party said that the concept of reservation, being an exception to the equality clause, is only justified when it is used for the purpose of upliftment of communities (OBC, SCs and STs) which have suffered discrimination and oppression. Economic criteria alone cannot be the basis of such this move since reservation is not a poverty alleviation scheme.

The reservation in Tamil Nadu is already at 69 per cent due to the operation of the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Schedules Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Act, 1993 (Tamil Nadu Act 45 of 1993) which has the protection of Article 31-B and has been placed in the IXth Schedule of the Constitution.

Therefore in Tamil Nadu, the reservation cannot exceed the 69 per cent when compared to other states, where it cannot exceed 50 per cent of the total seats available since the same would then be contradictory to the principle enshrined in Articles 14, 15(1) and 16 (1) of the Constitution, the petition contended.

—India Legal Bureau

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