EWS Quota : Supreme Court Upholds 10% reservation For Economically Weaker Sections
In a significant judgement on November 7, the Supreme Court validated the 10 per cent quota in colleges and government jobs for the poor or EWS (economically weaker sections) introduced just before the 2019 general elections.
By amending the constitution, the central government had made a provision of 10 percent reservation for the economically weaker sections of the general category.
The 103rd Constitutional Amendment providing for reservation was challenged in the Supreme Court.
A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the 103rd Amendment to the Constitution, which provides for 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in admissions and government jobs.
Three judges (Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, Bela Trivedi, and JB Pardiwala) upheld the Constitution Amendment Act and two judges disagreed.
Justice S Ravindra Bhat disagreed, terming the law discriminatory and violation of basic structure.
Chief Justice U U Lalit also concurred with the view of Justice S Ravindra Bhat.
The petitioners had questioned several aspects of the EWS quota, including how it could exceed the national limit of 50 per cent on reservation set by the Supreme Court in 1992 and whether it changed the "basic structure" of the Constitution.
Observation of the court
Justice Trivedi ruled that the EWS quota law is not discriminatory.
Justice Maheshwari observed that the EWS quota law does not violate basic structure or equity, keeping in view the economic parameters.
It does not harm any essential facility by exceeding the 50 per cent limit for the quota as the limit itself is flexible.
103rd Constitution Amendment Act
In the year 2019, Article 15 and Article 16 of the Indian Constitution were amended through the 103rd Constitutional Amendment.
Through the amendment, Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6) were inserted in the Constitution of India, so that the economically backward people (EWS) of the unreserved class could be provided the benefit of reservation.
The amendment empowered the state governments to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.
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