Sunday, February 5, 2023

Economic basis as condition for classification is an affront to the Constitution of India

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Today, during the second day of hearing the petitions that challenged the constitutional validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment took place in The Apex Court on granting 10% reservation to Economically Weaker Section of the society, questioned if the EWS quota would pass the test of constitutionality if economic basis is a recognised basis for classification.

A Constitution bench of five- judge including Chief Justice of India UU Lalit, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari,  JusticeS Ravindra Bhat, Justice Bela M Trivedi, and Justice JB Pardiwala is hearing the batch of petitions challenging the 10% EWS quota.

Professor Ravivarma Kumar who was the former Advocate General of Karnataka and a Senior Advocate submitted that the grounds of prohibition was not economic weakness but caste, creed, sex, and religion, not economic weakness.

Kumar argued “Where is the mention of economic depravity? It is not a ground of discrimination. It cannot be permitted that you put economic criteria in 15(1) and then introduce a bridge by way of Article 15(6),” argued Kumar.

Justice Bhat, said that the economic basis is a recognised basis for classification. It’s non-enumeration under Articles 15 and 16 will perhaps mean it is permissible”

To this, Kumar replied, “what is permissible is already written.”

Kumar said a very important point that “Equality code allowed economic factors to be taken into note. Give them free hostel, free boarding and lodging.. but why give them quota instead of those who have always been denied jobs or place in an institution historically.

Senior Advocate also said that the right to be considered for a state-aided institution is a fundamental right and the general category was getting it under open category which was 50 percent , but has now shrunk due to the 103rd amendment.

He added that 103rd amendment is an affront on the constitution. All rights taken away in case of this 10 percent. even in respect of one post I could not have been denied. This 10 percent quota condemns me to a caste to which I was born because I am not allowed. I did not apply for a job or university seat under the quota.

Another senior lawyer P Wilson, who appeared for the said that reservation purely on the basis of economic consideration is violation of the basic structure of the constitution.

Advocate Wilson added “It destroys the identity of the constitution and the parliament has travelled in a forbidden area by invoking Article 368 by brute majority and trampled the rights.

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