New Delhi: The Centre has defended the 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections (EWS) among the general category in jobs and higher education on the grounds of promoting social equality and equal opportunities.
Defending the reservation, the Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court the amendment was not in breach of the apex court's 1992 ruling in the Indira Sawhney case on the basic structure of the Constitution.
The Centre contended that the 50 per cent ceiling on reservation was applicable to the "reservation made under Article 15(4), 15(5) and Article 16(4) and does not apply to Article 15(6)."
Giving the background for introducing 10 per cent reservation for the EWS, the Centre said: "It was deemed necessary that a constitutional amendment be brought in to promote social equality by providing equal opportunities in higher education and employment to those who have been excluded by virtue of their economic status."
The Centre said this in response to a batch of petitions challenging the grant of 10 per cent quota to the EWS in the general category.
The top court on Monday decided to hear on March 28 the petitions to refer the 10 per cent quota matter to a larger Bench. "If it requires consideration by a larger Bench, we will do it," said Chief Justice Gogoi.