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States’ approval not needed for quota Bill

  • 11/01/2019

Amendment to a fundamental right does not require ratification by Legislative Assemblies.

  • The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Fourth Amendment) Bill of 2019 providing up to 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of society may be notified as the law of the land sooner than expected.
  • The proviso to Article 368 (power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure thereof) holds that an amendment to a fundamental right coming under Part III of the Constitution need not be ratified by the Legislatures of one half of the States. So, this Bill may be notified by the Central government as soon as it gets the assent from the President.
  • The Bill, passed by both the Houses of Parliament, adds new clauses to Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution. Both the Articles come under the part of ‘Fundamental Rights’ in the text of the Constitution. They are part of the ‘right to equality’ section of the fundamental rights envisaged in the Constitution.
  • The new clause (6) to Article 15 allows the government to carve reservation for the economically weaker sections of society in higher educational institutions, including private ones, whether they are aided or not by the State. Minority educational institutions are exempted. Likewise, the new clause (6) to Article 16 provides for quota for economically deprived sections in the initial appointment in government services.
  • “The proviso to Article 368 makes it clear that when a Constitution amendment of a fundamental right is in question, the Bill concerned need not be sent to the States’ Legislative Assemblies for ratification. Only Constitution amendments which affect the Centre-State relations or division of powers in a federal structure require subsequent ratification by the States’ Legislatures before the Presidential assent,”