In the EWS ruling, SC judges call for a timeline to end quotas
New Delhi. Two of the three judges who formed the majority opinion in the Supreme Court that has been saved The 10 percent reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) has strongly called for a fixed timeline to end reservations in the country.
Judges Bela M. Trivedi and J.
The judges wrote their individual views on the subject while concurring in the majority opinion delivered by Justice Dinesh Maheshwari. The fourth judge, Justice Ravindra Bhatt, wrote the minority opinion and was supported by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit, who headed the five-judge bench that delivered the verdict on Monday.
In his judgment, Trivedi finds that 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which introduced EWS reservation in admissions and employment was an exercise undertaken by the legislature to make special provisions for the economically weaker sections of the society. It is an amendment that enables the state to make reservations and is required to be “treated as an affirmative action in the interest of EWS and promotion”.
“Treating EWS as a separate class would be a reasonable classification and cannot be considered an unreasonable classification, let alone a betrayal of an essential characteristic or a violation of Article 14,” Trivedi said, rejecting the petitioners’ claim of creating a new category. for reservation offended the doctrine of basic structure as well as the Equality Code as it exempted Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and members of Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC).
However, admitting that it was the caste system in India that was responsible for the introduction of the reservation system, he spoke of the time frame originally set in the reservation policy.
“We need to review the reservation system in the larger interest of society as a step forward towards a transformative constitutionalism,” he said.
“Treating unequals as equals violates Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.”
However, Trivedi opined that just as “equals cannot be treated as unequals, so unequals cannot be treated as equals”.
“Treating unequals as equals would violate the doctrine of equality and Articles 14 (equality) and 16 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, sex, caste and place of birth),” he added.
Referring to the reservation of SC/STs and OBCs, he said that special provisions have already been made for them and they have been singled out as a separate category and therefore cannot be treated as “general unreserved category citizens”.
While the impugned amendment, he said, creates a special class under the EWS category from the general and unreserved classes without affecting the special reservation rights granted to SC/ST and SEBC.
Trivedi stated that the 103rd Amendment would not be termed as “shocking” or “unconscionable mockery of the essence of equal justice” as alleged by the petitioners, and would not be found to ignore substantive or procedural limitations imposed on the law. the constituent arm of the state.
Trivedi observed that this validated the amendment also because the procedure followed to introduce it was legally correct.
Before parting, the judge expressed an opinion on the time frame for the reservation.
India’s age-old caste system, he said, was “responsible for introducing the reservation system in the country,” adding: “It (reservation) was introduced to correct the historical injustice faced by the people and to ensure their level. playing field to compete with those belonging to the forward classes.”
“What was intended by the drafters of the Constitution and what was proposed by the Constitutional Court (Supreme Court) in 1985. the reservation must have an expiration date. It has not been achieved even till today, that is, till the completion of the 75th anniversary of independence,” said Trivedi.
The judge cited Article 334 of the Constitution, which underlines the term of SC/ST reservation in Parliament and state legislatures. This is extended from time to time, and the current term in legislatures for this quota is 2030.
Just as the 104th Amendment finally put an end to the representation of the Anglo-Indian community through nomination in Parliament, the same timeline should be set for reservations to the SC/ST and SEBC categories under Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution, he said. observing that “It will be a path of progress leading to an egalitarian, caste and class society”.
Justice Pardiwala also held similar views. Concurring with Justices Maheshwari and Trivedi, he observed: “Thus, reservation is not a goal, but a way, a way to ensure social and economic justice. It cannot be allowed to become self-interested. The solution lies in eliminating the causes that have led to the social and educational economic backwardness of the weaker sections.”
Although the exercise to eliminate this backwardness in the society started immediately after independence, it is still going on, the judge observed.
“Prolonged development and the spread of education has led to a significant narrowing of the gap between classes, with larger percentages of backward class members attaining acceptable standards of education and employment,” Pardiwala added.
According to him, such beneficiaries should be removed from the backward categories so that attention should be paid to those classes that really need help.
“Therefore, it is very necessary to review the method of identification of backward classes and the methods of determination and to find out whether the criteria adopted or applied for the classification of backward classes are relevant to today’s conditions,” Pardiwala said.
According to him, the creator of the Constitution B.R. “But it has continued for the last seven decades,” the judge said.
(Editing by VS Chandrasekar)
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