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EWS quota: Supreme Court upholds 10 percent reservation; know complete breakdown of verdict

The Supreme Court of India in a hearing conducted on Monday were upheld the 10 percent reservation in jobs and education for the economically weaker section (EWS) of the society. The top court said the law on the EWS quota does not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.

The validity of the EWS reservation and the validity of the 103rd Constitution amendment providing 10 percent reservation to people belonging to weaker sections of society in admissions and government jobs.

At the outset, Chief Justice U U Lalit said there are four different judgments on pleas challenging the EWS quota. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who read the judgment for himself, said the 103rd constitutional amendment cannot say to breach the basic structure of the Constitution.

Justice Ravindra Bhat, while supporting the quota for the backward classes, said, “Economic destitution, economic backwardness is the backbone of this amendment and on this account, the amendment is constitutionally indefensible. However, excluding the classes such as Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes (OBC) is not constitutionally permissible.”

The majority of the judges in the Supreme Court who heard the EWS reservation judgment said that the quota is not discriminatory but does not alter the basic structure of the constitution.

Justice J B Pardiwala concurred with their views and upheld the validity of the amendment. Justice S Ravindra Bhat, in a minority view, dissented and struck down the constitutional amendment on the EWS quota. CJI Lalit concurred with the view of Justice Bhat.

Here is a timeline of the EWS reservation case in the Supreme Court –

January 8, 2019: Lok Sabha clears the 103rd Constitution Amendment Bill.

January 9: Rajya Sabha clears the 103rd Constitution Amendment Bill.

January 12: Ministry of Law and Justice issues notice, saying President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent.

February: New law challenged before SC.

February 6: SC issues notice to govt on pleas challenging the amendment.

February 8: SC declines to stay at 10 percent EWS quota.

September 8, 2022: SC bench headed by CJI U U Lalit constitutes the bench to hear appeals.

September 13: SC starts hearing arguments.

September 27: SC reserves order.

November 7: SC, by the majority of 3:2, upholds validity of 103rd Constitution amendment providing 10 pc reservation to EWS in admissions, government jobs.

(With PTI inputs)

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