1. The Who, What And How
The government has put forth a set of eligibility criteria for those who intend to be the beneficiaries of the new quota scheme. The economic backwardness will be determined by their family income, agricultural land, residential house and residential plot.
- Family income should be less than 8 lakh per annum.
- Farm land should be less than that of 5 acres.
- Residential house should be less than 1000 sq ft.
- Residential plot should be below 100 yards in a notified municipality.
- In case of a non-notified municipality area, the residential plot should be below 200 yards.
The bill for reserving 10 percent seats for economically backward section of the upper caste is likely to be tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, 8 January.
Now, for the decision to be implemented on ground, it will need an amendment of Articles 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment) of the Constitution.
Both these articles, at present, do not provide for economic backwardness.
A constitutional amendment, in turn, requires the following steps to be fulfilled:
- Two-thirds majority of members present and voting in the Lok Sabha.
- Two-thirds majority of members present and voting in the Rajya Sabha.
- Ratification of legislatures of not less than half the states.
Further, the amendment may be challenged in the courts on the grounds that it violates the basic structure of the Constitution.