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Will amend Constitution for new 10% quota: Law Minister

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) The Narendra Modi-led NDA government is making a "constitutional amendment" to implement the Cabinet's decision of giving 10 per cent reservation to economically-backward people from general category in government jobs and educational institutions, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said here on Monday.

Prasad, responding to former Union Minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari at the launch of former MP Baijayant Panda's book, "Lutyens' Maverick - Ground Realities, Hard Choices and Tomorrow's India", clarified: "The Supreme Court has said that in the current constitutional architecture, no reservation can be given to non-educational and socially backward class, even if they are poor.

"We are coming up with constitutional amendment as a separate constitutional platform for economically weaker section of the community. Therefore it is a constitutional amendment and not a legal amendment."

Tewari had said that a similar attempt was made by P.V. Narasimha Rao government in 1991, but the Supreme Court struck it down on constitutional grounds.

Prasad said that the judiciary has never questioned the "power of Parliament" to come up with "reservation for a special objective upon proper reasonable ground".

Nationalist Congress Party MP Praful Patel expressed suspicion over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s hurry in approving the quota proposal in the last three months of its term.

"We are discussing something important without applying our minds to it," Patel said.

He added that parliamentarians will have very less time to read it and debate in the House.

"Would we be able to discuss it objectively, constructively?"

Panda said he has been a great believer in Indian democratic system.

"It's a self-corrective system," he said, while also calling for judicial reforms, improvement in police system and electoral reforms.

--IANS

ss/nir


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