Quota Bill Will Stand Judicial Scrutiny, Says Ram Vilas Paswan

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Ram Vilas Paswan accused the RJD in Bihar of pursuing politics of dividing society on caste basis. (File)


Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said the Narendra Modi government has taken adequate precaution by amending the Constitution for providing 10 per cent reservation to the economically backward in unreserved category so that it stands the judicial scrutiny.

He said when the VP Singh government provided reservation to the OBCs, quotas to the poor among the upper castes was also contemplated, but then Attorney General Soli Sorabjee was of the view that since the Constitution did not provide for reservation on an economic basis, it would not be upheld.

However, the Narasimha Rao government still sought to give the poor a "lollipop" by providing reservation through a notification which was, as expected, struck down, he said.

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"Since the PM Modi government has taken adequate precaution through a constitutional amendment, opposition parties like the Congress and RJD have been jolted out of their sleep. They will know the reality when they go to voters in the coming Lok Sabha elections," Mr Paswan said.

The LJP chief said while VP Singh, a leader from an upper caste, provided reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), PM Narendra Modi, who comes from a backward class did justice to the poor of the upper caste which is indicative of the social harmony within the Indian society.

He accused the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the main opposition party in Bihar, of pursuing politics of dividing the society on caste basis, while the Congress (its ally in the state) spoke with a "forked tongue on the issue of social justice."

The Congress supported the Bill in Lok Sabha, but leaders like Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal raised unwarranted objections in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Paswan said.

He also said he favoured putting reservation in the ninth schedule (of Constitution) so that the issues concerning the same are not dragged to the court.

The Union minister also came out in support of introducing affirmative action in the private sector, saying: "I realise that unlike public sector, we cannot impose quotas in privately-owned undertakings. But some measure should be thought out so that social justice is ensured in all sectors".

He also blamed the Congress for a fall in employment opportunities, saying the party opened a pandora's box by the way in which it liberalised the economy.

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