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Supreme Court upholds validity of 10 percent quota for Economically Weaker Section; The majority Bench upheld the 103rd Constitutional Amendment. CJI UU Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat dissent

CJI UU Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat dissent

2023-Feb-07

Supreme Court on November 7, 2022 upheld the 10 percent quota for economically weaker sections (EWS) in public jobs, public and private education institutes in 3:2 split verdict.

The Supreme Court pronounced the judgement on a batch of pleas challenging the validity of the 103rd Constitution amendment providing 10 percent reservation to EWS persons in admissions and government jobs.

 

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit delivered the verdict in the matter.

CJI UU Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat struck down the EWS amendment. Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, Bela Trivedi and JB Pardiwala upheld the EWS amendment. The majority bench upheld the 103rd Constitutional amendment.

CJI Lalit dissented with the majority view upholding EWS reservation. The CJI held that 10 percent quota for EWS is violative of Constitution. "I have concurred with the view taken by Justice Bhat. The decision stands at 3:2," said the CJI.

 

The apex court had on September 27 reserved the verdict on the legal question of whether the EWS quota violated the basic structure of the Constitution after hearing a battery of senior lawyers in the marathon hearing that had lasted for six-and-half-day.

The top court heard as many as 40 petitions and most of the pleas, including the lead one filed by 'Janhit Abhiyan' in 2019, challenged the validity of the Constitution Amendment (103rd) Act 2019.

The Centre, through the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019, introduced the provision for EWS reservation in admissions and public services.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cleared the bill on January 8 and 9 in 2019 respectively and it was then signed by then-President Ram Nath Kovind. The EWS quota is over and above the existing 50 percent reservation to SCs, STs, and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

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