The Supreme Court upheld the 10 percent EWS quota in a 3:2 verdict. The Tribune India

The Supreme Court upheld the 10 percent EWS quota in a 3:2 verdict. The Tribune India

Tribune news service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, November 7

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutional validity of the 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections (EWS) in government jobs and educational institutions, saying it did not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.

By a 3:2 majority, the five-judge Constitution Bench, which had reserved its verdict on September 27 after hearing the petitioners, the Center and others, declared the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which provides for EWS quota, valid.

There were four separate judgments. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice J. CJI UU Lalit agreed with Justice Bhatt.

The minority judgment struck down the 103rd amendment and declared it unconstitutional for excluding SC/ST and Other Backward Classes (OBC) from the scope of EWS reservation.

However, the majority said that the EWS quota law does not violate the Equality Code of the Constitution or the basic structure of the Constitution. On the question of exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling, the majority said that it would not apply to EWS reservation.

“The 103rd Constitutional Amendment cannot be said to violate the basic structure of the Constitution by allowing special provisions, including reservations, to the State based on economic criteria,” Justice Maheshwari said.

He said the amendment cannot be said to violate the basic structure of the Constitution by allowing the State to make special provisions for admission to private unaided institutions or to exclude socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs)/OBCs/SCs/STs. EWS Quota Scope.

Justice Maheshwari said that the amendment did not do any harm to the basic structure of the Constitution by violating the 50 per cent ceiling, “because that ceiling limit itself is not flexible and, in any case, applies only to reservations under the Articles. 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) of the Constitution of India”.

In his concurring judgment, Justice Trivedi said the EWS quota was based on “reasonable classification”. As defined by this court, just as equals cannot be treated unequally, so unequals cannot be treated equally,” he said.

Justice Trivedi said it is time to review the reservation/affirmative action system followed in India. “However, at the end of seventy-five years of our independence, we must review the reservation system in the larger interest of the society at large as a step forward towards a transformative constitutionalism,” he said.

Justice Pardiwala said that the reservation should not continue indefinitely. “Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s idea was to bring social harmony by introducing reservation for just ten years. However, it has continued for the past seven decades. Reservation should not continue indefinitely to become self-interested,” he said. .

Stating that the 103rd Amendment signifies Parliament’s intention to extend affirmative action to hitherto untouchable groups suffering from similar disadvantages as OBCs competing for opportunities, Justice Pardiwala said: would be equally appropriate, at least to account for the competitive disadvantages of the EWS.”

He hailed the 103rd amendment for “providing grounds not covered by Article 15(1) or 16(2) for providing general and caste/religion/community neutral standards of population”, which also harmonizes with the ultimate constitutional goal of a casteless society. .

Holding that the development and spread of education has led to a significant narrowing of the gap between different classes, Justice Pardiwala said: to focus on the classes that really need help.”

The Center had defended the EWS quota law, arguing that it did not violate the basic structure of the Constitution and did not violate the existing 50 per cent quota for SCS, STs and OBCs. It was granted for the first time without undermining the “completely independent” reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs that he had insisted on during the hearing.

There are 40 petitions challenging the Constitutional Amendment Act 103 of 2019, which introduced 10 percent EWS reservation in government employment and educational institutions, over and above the existing 50 percent reservation for SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes.

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