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The Constitution Bench asked what is ‘so fundamentally, so fundamentally wrong’ in setting aside the economic criteria for reservation?

The 103rd Amendment, by excluding the Backward Classes from the EWS quota, betrays the intent to serve as a quota for the middle class members of the forward castes, argue the petitioners.

The 103rd Amendment, by excluding the Backward Classes from the EWS quota, betrays the intent to serve as a quota for the middle class members of the forward castes, argue the petitioners.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit on the third day of hearing petitions challenging the 103rd Constitutional Amendment in setting aside the economic criteria for grant of reservation “so fundamentally, so fundamentally” What is wrong”, which introduced 10% quota for ‘Economically Weaker Sections’ (EWS) of the society.

EWS quota qualifies individuals with a gross annual family income of less than ₹8 lakh. The quota excludes Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, which form a ‘homogeneous group’ included in the prevailing 50% reservation given separately.

The petitioners have argued that economic criteria alone cannot be the basis for granting reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. He argues that the privilege of 10% quota was for the “middle class” forward classes.

“What is so fundamental, so fundamentally wrong, in setting aside an economic criterion for reservation? Isn’t it that they don’t belong to a homogeneous group? is it cast in stone that they [beneficiaries of reservation] Should belong to homologous group? Why can’t economic norms be the basis for state affirmative action? In the Constitution Bench, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat on Thursday asked advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for one of the petitioners.

Mr Farasat replied that “affirmative action” could take the form of a whole range of measures such as money transfer of ₹6,000 to farmers.

“There are other affirmative actions that can solve the problem of the economy, but not necessarily reservation. Reservation was a method of compensation for the backward class. It was the most vocal, most aggressive method of affirmative action. Reservation is the only way to solve a problem.” But there was a specific problem – to bring the backward classes into the mainstream by providing them access to education, government jobs,” replied Mr. Farasat.

He said the income criterion fixed by the government, i.e. ₹8 lakh, reflects not a mechanism to identify the poor, but a criterion for identifying the creamy layer already used for OBC reservation.

“The amendment betrays the real intent of the backward classes to serve as quotas for the middle class members of the forward castes, by taking them out of the purview of the EWS quota,” argued Mr. Farasat.

He argued that the net effect of the exclusion of backward classes from EWS was that those who had hitherto been able to reach 10% as part of the general category would now be denied open competition for it.

He said that the presence of only 50% reservation for backward classes on account of their social and educational backwardness would not allow their exclusion from the reservation because of economic backwardness.

Senior advocate Gopal Sanakaranarayana for another petitioner said that the 103rd Constitutional Amendment that held “in addition to the existing reservation” was unconstitutional as it abolished the existing reservations of 27% (OBC), 15% (SC) and 7.5% was. (scheduled tribe).

They argued that the amendment which gave an additional 10% EWS quota was “contrary to the temporary nature of the reservation and the fact that it should/should be reduced”.

The EWS quota violated the 50% ceiling limit, a constitutional norm that is a basic feature, and violated the equality code.

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