Historic Quota Bill passes Rajya Sabha test

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Constitution Amendment Bill 2019 to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category.

Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot introduced the Bill, and it was passed with 165 votes in its favour while seven were against it. Gehlot had said the Constitution does not allow reservation on economic basis and because of this economically weaker sections in the general category miss out on many opportunities.

On Tuesday, the Lok Sabha had passed the bill with almost all parties supporting it. On Monday, the government had extended the proceedings of Rajya Sabha by a day to ensure its passage

After the Rajya Sabha passed the quota bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the passing of the bill as “victory for social justice.”  He tweeted, “It ensures a wider canvas for our Yuva Shakti to showcase their prowess and contribute towards India’s transformation.”

“By passing The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, we pay tributes to the makers of our Constitution and the great freedom fighters, who envisioned an India that is strong and inclusive,” Modi further added in his tweet.

MPs from different political parties have come forward with their views. During the debate on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, nearly all opposition parties said the Modi government had pushed through a Bill full of lacunae with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as the BJP’s recent electoral losses in three Hindi heartland states had left it shaken.

Congress’s Kapil Sibal questioned whether it would stand the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, since it exceeds the 50 per cent cap for quota set by the court.

The bill is expected to benefit a huge section of upper castes. The economically deprived among the other religions will also benefit.