Saturday, April 20, 2024

EWS quota: Congress leader seeks review of Supreme Court verdict that upheld validity of 103rd Amendment

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking review of its November 7 verdict that upheld the constitutional validity of 103rd Amendment, which gives 10 percent reservation to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) among the forward castes, with 3:2 majority.

The review petition has been filed by Congress leader Dr Jaya Thakur, seeking review of the judgement passed by the five-Judge Constitution Bench of the Apex Court, comprising then Chief Justice of India (CJI) U.U. Lalit, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice J.B. Pardiwala.

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

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari said that Reservation on economic basis did 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 was not an end, but a means to secure social and economic justice. He further said that it must not be allowed to become a vested interest.

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

Justice Ravindra Bhatt, however, disagreed with the majority verdict and dissented on exclusion of SC/ST from the 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 struck at the heart of the equality code.

CJI Lalit sprang a surprise in the end, as he agreed with Justice Bhat in the dissent. However, the EWS quota law was upheld by a 3-2 majority.

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

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


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