I oppose EWS quota as it's exclusionary: Karti Chidambaram differs with Congress

P Chidambaram had said he is sure that the Supreme Court will be petitioned to revisit the issue on which the judges were divided.
Congress MP Karti Chidambaram (Photo | PTI)
Congress MP Karti Chidambaram (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Taking a view divergent from his party, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram on Wednesday said he was opposed to the 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections (EWS) as it was "exclusionary".

He also welcomed the DMK's decision to file a review petition in the Supreme Court against its verdict on the quota.

The Supreme Court on Monday had upheld by a 3-2 majority the 10 per cent quota for the EWS in educational institutions and government jobs, saying it was not discriminatory and did not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.

The Congress had welcomed the Supreme Court verdict and said the amendment providing for it was the result of a process initiated by the Manmohan Singh government.

Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said, "I oppose EWS Quota as it's exclusionary and not all inclusive."

"If 'Economic' criteria is applied, it cannot exclude people based on 'caste', this is my fundamental objection to EWS Quota," the Lok Sabha MP from Sivaganga said in another tweet.

Tagging a tweet by a DMK office-bearer who said his party would file a review petition, Chidambaram said he welcomes the initiative.

On Monday when the judgement had come, he had tweeted, "Today's SC judgement on the EWS quota excludes many from accessing the quota on economic grounds. A 3:2 split judgement indicates contrasting viewpoints that need to be addressed. The criteria of EWS is also arbitrary. The judgement doesn't aid in true economic/social uplift."

On Tuesday, Karti Chidambaram's father and Congress' Rajya Sabha MP P Chidambaram had noted that the judgement was in two parts.

"Part I: All five Honourable judges agreed that a new reservation can be carved out applying economic criteria Part II: The Court was divided 3:2 on the question of excluding the OBC, SC and ST from the new category of 'poor'," P Chidambaram had said.

"The powerful dissent of the two Honourable judges underlined the truth that the basic structure of the Indian Constitution did not permit exclusion. There are poor among all castes and communities. The moot question is 'will the poor be treated equally under the Constitution?" he had said.

P Chidambaram had said he is sure that the Supreme Court will be petitioned to revisit the issue on which the judges were divided.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said the Supreme Court judgment was a setback to the century-long social justice struggle.

Recalling the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's legal struggle against the reservation system brought by the central government, Stalin said, "Today's judgment in this case should be considered as a setback in the century-long struggle for social justice."

Echoing similar views, another Tamil Nadu Congress MP, Jothimani, had also called the Supreme Court judgment a major setback to the struggle for social justice.

While Chief Justice U U Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat dissented from the majority opinion that upheld the 103rd Constitution amendment of 2019, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari said use of basic structure doctrine as a "sword" to "stultify" the effort to do economic justice cannot be countenanced.

Justice Bhat, who pronounced the minority verdict, said the EWS quota on the ground of economic criteria was "per se not violative", but struck down the amendment due to the exclusion of poor among the SC/ST/OBC categories from its ambit.

People with less than Rs 8 lakh gross annual family income are eligible for the EWS quota.

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