Reservation policy cannot stay indefinitely, says Supreme Court

Reservation policy cannot stay indefinitely, says Supreme Court

Justice PB Pardiwala, who also formed the majority upholding the EWS quota, said the real solution lay in removing the causes that led to the social, educational and economic backwardness of the weaker sections of the community.

Justice PB Pardiwala, who also formed the majority upholding the EWS quota, said the real solution lay in removing the causes that led to the social, educational and economic backwardness of the weaker sections of the community.

The three judges of the Constitutional Court, who formed both the majority and minority opinions, said that the policy of reservation in education and jobs could not continue indefinitely.

Judge Bela M. Trivedi, who formed part of the majority judgment, said that a reservation policy should have a timeout. “On the eve of our 75th year of Independence, we must review the reservation system in the common interest of society as a step forward towards a transformative constitutionalism,” Justice Trivedi said.

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He pointed out that the quota of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People and State Legislatures will cease after 80 years from the commencement of the Constitution. The representation of the Anglo-Indian communities in the Parliament and Assemblies has already been terminated by virtue of the 104th Constitutional Amendment from January 25, 2020.

“Hence, a similar term for special provisions on reservations and representations under Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution, if provided for, could be a path towards an egalitarian, caste and class society.” Justice Trivedi observed:

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Although not expressly stated, Justice Trivedi’s view on ending quota under Articles 15 and 16 would also include EWS reservation.

Justice PB Pardiwala, who was also in the majority upholding the EWS quota, said “reservation is not an end, but a means – a means to ensure social and economic justice. Reservation cannot be allowed to become self-interest. The real solution, however, is to eliminate the causes that have led to the social, educational and economic backwardness of the weaker sections of the community.”

He said that “prolonged development and the spread of education” had led to a significant narrowing of the gap between classes. Large percentages of backward class members achieve acceptable standards of education and employment. They should be removed from the Backward categories so that attention can be given to those who really need help.

“It is very necessary to review the method of identification and methods of determination of backward classes and to ascertain whether the criteria adopted or applied for backward classification are relevant to today’s conditions,” Justice Pardiwala said.

Read also: Editorial |: Arbitrary and exclusive. About EWS Quota

In his minority view of the court, Judge S. Ravindra Bhat recalled Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s observations that reservations should be seen as temporary and exclusive, “otherwise they will eat away at the rule of equality”.



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