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Supreme Court upholds constitutional validity of 10 percent quota for EWS with 3:2 majority

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The Supreme Court Constitution bench today with 3:2 majority upheld the Constitutional validity of 103rd Amendment which gives 10 percent reservation to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) among the forward castes.

A bench comprising of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit along with Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, Justice S Ravindra Bhat, Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice JB Pardiwala have delivered the order.

Each of the four judges had their own views on the EWS reservation.

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari said that Reservation on economic basis does not violate basic structure of the Constitution and in his opinion the EWS quota does not violate the basic structure of the Constitution as the quota was based on criteria which is economic.

Justice Maheshwari added that Reservation is an instrument of affirmative action for ensuring goals of egalitarian society. He further said that this quota adds all the classes or section which have been disadvantaged.

Justice Bela M Trivedi also held the similar opinion on the EWS quota and said that by way of a separate judgment.

Justice Pardiwala said that reservation is not an end, but means to secure social & economic justice. He further said that it must not be allowed to become vested interest.

Justice Pardiwala added that the reservation should not continue for indefinite period of time so as to become vested interested. Upholds 103rd amendment

Justice Ravindra Bhatt however disagreed with majority verdict and dissented on exclusion of SC/ST from 10 percent quota.

Justice Bhat said that allowing breach of the 50 percent cap set on reservation can lead to further infractions which can result in compartmentalisation.

Justice Bhat also said that amendment practices constitutionally prohibited discrimination which strikes at the heart of the equality code.

CJI Lalit sprang a surprise in the end, as he agreed with Justice Bhat in the dissent. So, it’s 3-2. But the EWS quota law is still upheld in view of the majority.

Onn September 27, the Apex Court had concluded hearing the on the 103rd Constitutional Amendment that grants 10 percent reservation to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) among the forward castes.

The petitions,had been filed by NGOs Janhit Abhiyan which had challenged the amendment on the ground that economic classification cannot be the sole basis for reservation.

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