New Delhi: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019, the Parliament on Wednesday passed a landmark Constitution amendment bill providing for 10 per cent reservation to upper castes in government jobs and higher educational institutions, with the Rajya Sabha voting it late in the night after rejecting a demand for referring it to a select committee for detailed scrutiny.

The House passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 — which was adopted by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday — with 165 members in its favour and seven against it in a division amidst broad support from the Congress and other opposition parties despite their reservations over its constitutional validity and the timing in view of the approaching elections.

Earlier, the House rejected an amendment moved by DMK member Kanimozhi and CPI(M)’s T.K. Rangarajan for referring the bill to a select committee for in-depth scrutiny, with 155 voting against it and 18 for in a House of 244. Several other opposition amendments were also negatived. A constitutional amendment needs a special majority of more than half of the House present and two-thirds of those present voting in favour of it.

The Bill seeks to amend Article 15 of the Constitution, by adding a clause which allows states to make “special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens”. These “special provisions” would relate to “their admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, other than the minority educational institutions”.

Here is who said what:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

“Passage of The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 in both Houses of Parliament is a victory for social justice. It ensures a wider canvas for our Yuva Shakti to showcase their prowess and contribute towards India’s transformation,” Modi said.

“Passage of The Constitution (One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 in both Houses of Parliament is a victory for social justice.”

“It ensures a wider canvas for our Yuva Shakti to showcase their prowess and contribute towards India’s transformation.”

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu

“I compliment both the Houses of Parliament for passing the historic constitutional amendment bill to provide 10 per cent quota for economically backward sections in educational institutions and employment.”

Arun Jaitley

“The Constitution 124th Amendment Bill provides reservation to economically weaker sections of the society in higher educational institutions & in jobs. This endeavour of the govt. led by PM @narendramodi ji now ensures social justice & empowerment for all, #SabkaSaathSabkaVikas.”

“With passage of the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 by Rajya Sabha, a historical reform for equality and equal opportunity has come into existence. Govt. accomplishes its commitment to #SabkaSaathSabkaVikas #NewIndia”

Ravi Shankar Prasad

“History has been created as the Rajya Sabha passes the Bill to provide reservation to poor among upper castes.”

Smriti Irani

“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.”