Polity Notes


With 3:2 split verdict, Supreme Court upholds 10% EWS quota

The Supreme Court on 7th Nov 2022 upheld the validity of the 103rd constitutional amendment Act 2019 providing 10 per cent reservation to people belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) of the General category in admission and government jobs with a 3:2 split verdict.

The majority bench comprised justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Bela Trivedi and JB Pardiwala, who upheld the EWS amendment. CJI UU Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat passed a dissenting judgement.

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, reading out the verdict said that the 103rd constitutional amendment for the EWS quota is valid and does not violate the basic structure of the constitution.

“The 103rd constitutional amendment cannot be struck down on grounds of being discriminatory.” Justice Bela Trivedi said.

She added that there is a need to revisit the reservation policy and it should have a time span.

Justice JB Pardiwala said that the reservation can not go on for an indefinite period and agreed with Justice Trivedi to re-examine the reservation policy.

Justice Ravindra Bhat, disagreeing with the majority verdict of the 103rd constitutional amendment, said that leaving out the poor from SCs/STs/OBSs from availing the reservation benefit under the EWS category is discriminatory. The chief justice agreed with Justice Bhat.

The five-judge constitution bench, headed by CJI Lalit, pronounced its verdict on three questions framed by it regarding the validity of the EWS quota.

The first issue was whether reservation based on economic criteria is permitted under the constitution and whether it would go against basic structure if allowed.

The second said whether the 103rd amendment can be said to breach the basic structure of the constitution by permitting the state to make special provisions in relation to admission to private unaided institutions.

The third question was whether the amendment can be said to breach the basic structure excluding the SEBCs (Socially and Educationally Backward Classes)/OBCs/SCs/STs from the scope of EWS reservation.