- On Monday, a five-judge constitution bench, by a majority of 3:2, upheld the validity of the Constitution’s 103rd Amendment Act which provides 10% EWS reservation in educational institutions and government jobs.
- Major general SR Sinha (retd) headed the Commission for Economically Backward Classes set up in 2006 to identify criteria for identifying EBCs. The panel submitted its report in July 2010.
The Supreme Court on Monday, through its important and historic decision, has justified the 10 percent reservation in government jobs and colleges for the economically backward classes. This reservation quota was announced by the central government just before the 2019 general elections. For a long time, there was a demand from the general class that they should also be given the facility of reservation on an economic basis. Chief Justice of India Ude Umesh Lalit wrote this very important and memorable decision just a day before his retirement.
There was a time when a newborn child born in a Dalit family would be exploited based on caste from the very beginning. Similarly, the general class has so far objected that if a family is poor then what is their fault, they neither get jobs on a priority basis nor are they ever given any facility of reservation. The general category should also get this facility, so why discriminate against them?
Justice Dinesh Maheshwari said that the law of 10 percent reservation for economically backward classes will not violate the basic structure related to the code of equality in society. A bench of five judges of the Supreme Court pronounced this decision. Three judges upheld the central government’s 10 percent reservation for economically backward classes as valid, while two judges were against such reservation. The views of Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat differed from the rest of the three judges.
Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justice Bhatt said that the 103rd Amendment Act 2019 enacted by the Central Government is discriminatory and violates the basic structure of the Constitution. Justice Bella M. Trivedi, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Maheshwari said that the 10 percent reservation quota for the general category is completely legitimate and constitutional.
Many petitions were filed in the courts against this reservation announced by the central government three years ago. Among them, the 103rd amendment made in the constitution was challenged in this regard. Now the state governments will be able to prepare the provision of reservation facilities for the general category based on this law.
The main controversy was about the issue that the new amendment law does not violate the maximum 50 percent limit of the reservation set in the Inder Sahni case of 1992 i.e. the Mandal Commission case. In the Inder Sahni case, a nine-judge bench had ruled that reservation would not exceed 50 percent except in certain specified and exceptional circumstances. For sure, this ‘supreme’ decision will have far-reaching consequences. The needy people of the general category will get a lot of benefits from this new amendment law.