New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday will hear a petition challenging the Centre’s decision to introduce 10 per cent quota for the poor in general category.

The plea filed by NGO Youth for Equality and Kaushal Kant Mishra sought the quashing of the bill stating that it violated the basic feature of the Constitution. It added that economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation and the 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached.

It must be noted that despite the petitions filed, the Centre has stated that from February onwards, all central government posts will be filled in accordance with the 10 per cent reservation. It has also stated that the quota will be introduced for admissions to higher education institutions from the upcoming academic sessions and college authorities have been asked to increase infrastructure for it.

The Bill has fixed an annual income of less than Rs 8 lakh and not owning more than five acres of agricultural land as criteria for defining an economically weaker section in the general category for availing of the reservation in educational institutions as well as government jobs.

It does not provide quota for those owning a flat of 1000 square feet or more, land of 100 sq yards in notified municipality area and 200 yards in the non-notified area.

In a 1992 order, the Supreme Court had capped reservations in government jobs and education at 50 per cent. But in order in July 2010, it allowed states to exceed that limit if they had solid scientific data to justify the increase. The apex court had also asserted that the Constitution makes no case for the quota on the economic ground and only talks of educational and social backwardness besides those for the SCs and STs.