124th Constitutional Amendment Bill

124th Constitutional Amendment Bill

Question: Which of the following statements are correct in reference to the 124th Constitutional amendment passed by both the houses of Parliament?
1) This bill provisions 10% reservation in government jobs to forward caste poor people
2) This reservation would add to the existing 49.50% reservation and would further increase it to 60%
3) The Bill amends the Article 15 & 16 of constitution
4) Gujarat becomes the first state to approve its implementation
Correct option:
(a) 1, 2 and 3
(b) 1, 2 and 4
(c) 2, 3 and 4
(d) All of the above
Answer: (c)
Related facts:

  • Parliament passed the historic 124th Constitutional Amendment Bill that guarantees 10% quota reservation to Economically Weaker Section of forward caste in higher education and government jobs.
  • This provides reservation to people of General category having annual income of less than 8 lakhs per annum per family, having less than 5 acre of agricultural land.
  • People who have a house less than 1,000 sq feet in a town (or 100 sq yard in a notified municipal area) will also avail benefits under this act.

Important dates:

  • The bill needed a special majority to get passed in both the Houses. This bill was brought to the table of Lok Sabha on 8th January and got passed the same day with majority (323 in favour, 3 in against).
  • The following day it was brought in Rajya Sabha, last day of winter session after an extension of 1 day. It passed too the same day (165 in favour and 7 against).
  • The President gave his assent to the bill on 12th January validating the bill. This will now be known as Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019.
  • Gujarat, the next day (13th January) became the first state to approve the implementation of 10% quota reservation.

Constitutional aspect of the bill:

  • The Act amends Article 15 and 16 of Constitution as it adds a new clause which allows states to make “special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens”.
  • Article 15 has prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 16 has equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.

Judgements of Courts:

  • The judgement of Supreme Court in 1992 case of Indra Sawhney & others vs Union Of India says the provision of reservation should not be more than 50%.
  • The reservation of 69% in Tamil Nadu is protected by Ninth Schedule barring Judicial Review.

Historical background:

  • Government of Kerala under Chief Minister VS Achyutanand in 2008 brought 10% reservation of seats in graduation and PG courses in government colleges and 7.5% seats in universities for the economically backward among the forwards. An appeal is pending in Supreme Court.
  • In 2008 and 2015, the Rajasthan Assembly passed Bills to provide a 14% quota to the economically backward classes (EBCs) among the forward castes.

Himanshu Shukla

Links:
https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/reservation-bill-mandal-commission-quota-narendra-modi-5527623/
https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/the-124th-amendment-a-look-at-the-facts/article25990756.ece

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