10% Quota For Poor (EWS) Cleared By Supreme Court, Big Win For Government


New Delhi:
In a big win for the government, the Supreme Court today backed a 10 per cent quota in jobs and education for the poor or EWS (Economically Weaker Sections), introduced just before the 2019 general elections.

Here are top 10 points on this verdict

  1. The quota is not discriminatory and does not alter the basic structure of the constitution, a Supreme Court constitution bench said in a majority judgement. Two judges dissented, including Chief Justice UU Lalit, who retires tomorrow.

  2. Justice Ravindra Bhat, the other dissenting judge, said he supported quota for the economically backward, but the exclusion of the socially backward sections is not allowed in the constitution. “I regret my inability to concur with the majority opinion. Our constitution does not speak the language of exclusion. In my considered opinion the amendment by the language of exclusion undermines the fabric of social justice and thereby the basic structure,” Justice Bhat said.

  3. The Chief Justice said: “I concur with the view taken by Justice Bhat. The decision stands at 3:2.”

  4. The ruling BJP praised the landmark decision, which comes ahead of key polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, and called it a victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his “mission” to provide social justice to the country’s poor.

  5. The EWS quota was introduced through the 103rd constitutional amendment and cleared in January 2019 by the Centre soon after the BJP lost the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh elections. It was instantly challenged in the Supreme Court.

  6. The quota bypassed affirmative action that benefits communities traditionally marginalised in Indian society, like the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC). Petitions had questioned how the quota could cross the 50 per cent national cap on reservation set by the Supreme Court in 1992 and whether it changed the “basic structure” of the constitution. The quota was “a deceitful and backdoor attempt to destroy concept of reservation”, said petitioners.

  7. The government argued that the quota would help bring people out of poverty and would not cut into existing reservation for backward classes or reduce seats for the general category.

  8. Opposition parties, including the Congress, didn’t oppose the law. But as many as 40 petitions were heard by the Supreme Court against it, including by the state of Tamil Nadu, which has among the highest reservation in the country.

  9. Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK criticised the ruling, with Chief Minister MK Stalin calling it a setback to the struggle for social justice. Parties like the RJD of Tejashwi Yadav, however, called for an immediate caste census.

  10. In court, one of the judges, Justice JB Pardiwala, said reservation should not continue for an indefinite time so that it becomes a vested interest. “The ones who have moved ahead should be removed from backward classes so that ones in need can be helped. The ways to determine backward classes need a re- look so that ways are relevant in today’s time,” said the judge.


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