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EWS Reservations Not Impacted By Supreme Court Judgment Quashing Maratha Quota: Centre In Lok Sabha

21 July 2021 2:44 PM GMT
EWS Reservations Not Impacted By Supreme Court Judgment Quashing Maratha Quota: Centre In Lok Sabha

The Supreme Court judgment striking down Maratha Quota has not impacted the reservations for Economically Weaker Sections, the Central Government stated in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The Minister of States for Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik stated this in response to the query made by MP Margani Bharat.

The MP asked whether the Government is aware of the recent judgment of Supreme Court refusing to allow reservation above 50 percent and whether 10 percent Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota given by the Government would thus become null and void?

"Supreme Court.....have confirmed the Orders of Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney case that imposed a overall limit of 50% on the reservations...The reservations for the Economically Weaker Sections are not impacted by the above order. However, the reservation for the EWS category are under consideration of the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court separately.", the Minister replied.

The Minister added that the Government is not considering any amendment in this regard.

Maratha Quota Judgment

The Supreme Court judgment in Maratha Quota cases reiterated the principle of 50% ceiling limit for reservations and rejected the plea to revisit the 9-judge bench judgment in Indira Sawhney case which had laid down this ceiling limit. "To change the 50% limit is to have a society which is not founded on equality but based on caste rule" , the Supreme Court had observed in its judgment in Maratha Quota case while reiterating that reservation under Article 16(4) should not exceed 50% except when there are extraordinary circumstances.

103rd Constitutional Amendment [EWS Quota]

The 103rd Constitutional Amendment provides economic reservation in jobs and education by inserting clause (6) in Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution. Article 15(6) enables State to make special provisions for advancement of any economically weaker section of citizens, including reservations in educational institutions. It states that such reservation can be made in any educational institution, including private institutions, whether aided or unaided, except minority educational institutions covered under Article 30(1). It further states that the upper limit of reservation will be ten percent, which will be in addition to the existing reservations. As regards job reservations, Article 16(6) enables State to make provision for reservation in appointments, in addition to the existing reservations, subject to a maximum of ten percent.

Challenge Against EWS Quota

Janhit Abhiyan approached the Supreme Court challenging the amendment contending that it breaches the 50% ceiling limit and runs contrary to the dictum laid down in Indra Sawhney. According to them, the equality code of the Constitution ought to be strictly observed and breach of 50% ceiling limit should not be allowed. Centre defended the Amendment contending that the limit of 50% of reservation is only applicable to reservations made under Articles 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) and does not apply to Article 15(6). To secure justice to all citizens based on social, economic and political, as referred to in the Preamble, it is always open for the State to bring a constitutional amendment so as to promote such economically weaker sections, in relation to admissions to educational institutions and also in making appointments in public services, it was contended. The Centre further submitted that, though ordinarily 50% is the rule but same will not prevent to amend the Constitution itself in view of the existing special circumstances to uplift the members of the society belonging to economically weaker sections. Taking note of these contentions, the three judge bench referred the matter to Constitution Bench.

Also read: Will Maratha Quota Case Verdict Impact 10% EWS Quota Above 50% Ceiling Limit?

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