List of Supreme court decisions on Quota for EWS section
EWS Section Update: A day before Chief Justice India Uday Umesh Lalit retires, the Supreme Court rendered an important decision on Monday regarding the legality of the central law for the 10% reservation benefits for the economically weaker sections of society (EWS). Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, Bela Trivedi, and B. Pardiwala held that the EWS quota does not violate the Constitution's fundamental principles, but Justice Ravindra Bhat disagreed.
Before hitting the new norms for EWS let’s get a basic understanding of what is EWS and its execution.
What is EWS and its benefits?
The unreserved group of people in India who have a family income of less than 8 lakh rupees per year is known as the economically weaker section or EWS. Additionally, this category meets the EWS economic criteria and does not fall under SC/ST/OBC.
Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the constitution were amended by the Union Government of India in the Constitution (One Hundred Third, 103rd CAA) Bill, 2019, adding a 10% additional quota for EWS students among the former Unreserved category or General category students.
List of Supreme Court updates on the EWS section are:
- The reservation was intended for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), a crucial constituency for the BJP government, and it avoids the benefits of current affirmative action, which benefits groups that have historically been marginalized in Indian society.
- After the BJP lost the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh in January 2019, the 103rd constitutional amendment was approved. It was immediately challenged in the Supreme Court.
- Even though the majority of the opposition parties, including the Congress, did not oppose the law, the Supreme Court heard up to 40 petitions against it, including one from the state of Tamil Nadu, which has some of the highest levels of reservation in the nation, carefully balanced.
- The Supreme Court's 1992 restriction on national reservations of 50% was raised by the petitioners, who also questioned whether the EWS quota altered the "basic structure" of the constitution. These were just two of the issues raised by the petitioners regarding the EWS quota.
- The Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that the basic framework of the constitution, which includes clauses like the rule of law and the separation of powers, is outside the purview of parliament.
- The court said after hearing the EWS case that it would base its decision on the answers to three key questions, including whether the amendment changed the fundamental makeup of the constitution by allowing economic status to be taken into account when reserving seats.
- The other two concerns were whether it could be enforced on private institutions and whether it could be used to exclude historically marginalized caste, religious, and tribal communities.
- The government argued that the modification would assist in removing people from poverty and did not go against previous Supreme Court rulings or the principles of the constitution.
- The case was initially heard by three judges, who in 2019 forwarded it to a larger five-judge bench. The court reserved its judgment after a protracted six-and-a-half-day hearing in September.
- The five judges, led by retiring Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, are anticipated to rule on the case today.
In India, the term Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Economically Backward Class (EBC) should not be used interchangeably. The Government of India has established a definition for EWS, but different institutions and states have their definitions for EBC and the Most Economically Backward Class (MEBC).