The Supreme Court reserves its verdict on the Centre’s 10% EWS quota challenge

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its decision on a plethora of appeals in opposition to the constitutional amendment of 103rd Constitution amendment that provides a 10% reservation for economically less able sections (EWS) people who are admitted to government positions.

Five-judge Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, reserved the decision on the legal issue as to whether or not the EWS contingent violated the fundamental constitutional structure. The bench was hearing from several lawyers with senior status, which included Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, during the marathon hearing which lasted over six and a half hours.

Professor Mohan Gopal had opened the argument in front of the court, which included justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi as well as J B Pardiwala, on the 13th of September and had opposed the EWS amending the quota by describing the amendment “deceitful as well as a backdoor effort” to undermine the idea of reservation.

Senior lawyers like Ravi Verma Kumar, P Wilson, Meenakshi Arora, Sanjay Parikh, K S Chauhan as well as advocate Shadan Faisal attacked the quota, claiming that it was also excluding people who fall under those in the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and scheduled Tribes (STs) And Other Backward Classes (OBCs) categories. It also is in contradiction to the creamy layer idea.

Tamil Nadu, represented by senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, also opposes the EWS contingent, arguing that economic factors cannot form the basis for classifying, and the supreme court will need to reconsider its Indira Sawhney (Mandal) decision should it decide to keep the reservation.

However, the attorney general, as well as the solicitor general, strongly defended the amendment, claiming the reservation that was made under the amendment was not the same and had been made without altering the 50 per cent allocation for the economically and socially marginalized class (SEBC).

Therefore, the amended law does not break the basic nature of the Constitution, They said.

The solicitor general spoke in depth regarding the power of the state to affirmatively raise the status of the poor within the general population and stated that the constitutional amendment enhances the foundational feature in the Constitution and is not based on the basis of certain data.

He stated that the EWS allocation was “necessitated” in order to help the general poor, a “large portion” that is any existing reservation scheme does not cover that.

Advocate senior Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who represented the NGO Youth for Equality and was a supporter of the EWS Quota scheme, argued that the scheme was “long overdue” and was a “right step toward the direction of.” The highest court was able to hear more than 40 petitions. Most of them, which included the leading one submitted by ‘Janhit Abhiyan in 2019, challenged the legality of the Constitution Amendment (103rd) Act 2019.

The Central government has filed petitions to move ongoing cases involving the EWS the quota law, and from the various superior courts and the supreme courts for an authoritative ruling.

The bench, on the 8th of September the 8th, had laid out three major issues to be adjudicated in connection with the pleas to challenge the Centre’s decision to grant a 10 per cent reservation to EWS in jobs and admissions.

The bench said that the three questions that the attorney general had suggested in the case of that decision “broadly” covered all issues pertaining to the petitions regarding the constitutionality and the legality of the ruling to make the reservation.

“Whether this third Constitution amendment Act can be claimed to violate the basic design of the Constitution by allowing the state to establish special provisions, like reservations that are based on economic considerations,” read the first debate framed.

The third legal issue concerned whether the amendment to constitutional law was able to violate the fundamental structure of the Constitution by allowing the government to create special rules for admissions to private, unaided institutions.

“Whether it is true that the proposed 103rd Constitution amendment is able to be in violation of the fundamental nature of Constitution by excluding SEBCs/OBCs, SCs/STs out of the EWS reservation EWS reservation” the third issue to be decided by the court, is read.

The concept of the basic structure was proclaimed by the supreme court in 1973 when it decided the Keshavananda Bharati case. It was ruled that Parliament was not able to modify every single aspect of the Constitution and that things like the rule of law, separation of powers and judicial independence were an integral part of the “basic structure” of the Constitution and, therefore, cannot be altered.

The Centre, by enacting its 3rd Constitutional Amendment Act 2019, introduced the provision of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation of admissions and public services.

In the past in the year, the Centre in the year 2019 also informed the Supreme Court the law which grants a quota of 10% for Economically weaker Sections (EWSs) was brought in order to help promote “social equality” by ensuring “equal opportunities to education and work for people who are denied access due to their socioeconomic situation”.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cleared the bill on January 8 and 9 of 2019, respectively, and it was signed by former President Ram Nath Kovind. The EWS allocation is above and over the 50% reservation available to SCs, STs And Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

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