Supreme Court (SC) on Monday upheld the validity of the 10 per cent reservation to the economically weaker section (EWS) under the 103rd Contitutional Amendment. The five-member bench headed by chief justice of India UU Lalit announed the judgement on Monday. Justice Ravindra Bhat was the only judge that disagreed on the exclusion of SC/ST from the EWS quota.
CJI Lalit is set to retire on November 8.
SC said that the EWS quota does not violate the basic structure of the Constitution set under the Indra Sawhney Case (1992).
On January 12, 2019, the government of India amended the Constitution to provide a 10 per cent reservation to the candidates from the general category that belongs to the “Economically Weaker Section (EWS)” of the society.
To qualify for the reservation, the household income of the candidate must be less than Rs 8 lakh per annum.
People belonging to OBC, SC or ST categories were not eligible for reservations under this amendment.
Most of them stated that it violated the “basic structure” of the Constitution.
In the Indra Sawhney & Others vs Union of India case, 1992, the Supreme Court stated that no amendment that violates the Constitution’s basic structure would be valid.
It further stated that the total number of reserved seats and positions could not exceed 50 per cent of the total. Also, economic backwardness cannot be the sole reason for reservation.
Senior advocate P. Wilson argued that Article 15(4) & 16(4) are enabling provisions to grant reservations which are affirmative action to offset centuries of social discrimination and promote equality. He added that the 103rd Amendment nullifies and destroys the substantive equality sought to be achieved by Article 15(4) & 16(4) & takes SC/ST/OBC’s back to pre-Constitution condition in the society.
“In Indra Sawhney, this court has held that reservations based on economic criteria will lead to virtual deletion of Art 15(4) and 16(4)”, he said.
The government, however, said that to sustain a challenge against a constitutional amendment, it must be shown that the very identity of the Constitution has been altered
Leave a Reply