The Supreme Court upholds 103rd amendment to the Constitution introducing a 10 per cent reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in government jobs and admission to educational institutions.
While Justices J B Pardiwala, Bela M Trivedi and Dinesh Maheshwari agreed in favour of Quota, Chief Justice U U Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat dissented.
According to Justice Maheshwari the reservation is an instrument of affirmative action by the state to ensure an all-inclusive march towards the goal of an egalitarian society while countering inequalities. “It is an instrument not only for inclusion of socially and educationally backward classes to the mainstream of society, but also for the inclusion of any class or section so disadvantaged as to be answering the definition of a weaker section. In this background, reservation singularly on economic background does not violate any essential feature of the Constitution and does not cause any damage to the basic structure of the constitution.
‘Reserved categories from EWS quota does not violate basic structure of the constitution.’
Concurring with Justice Maheshwari’s statement, Justice Bela M Trivedi said that the amendment enabling state to be treated as an affirmative action on the part of the Parliament. Treating the EWS class of citizens as a separate class would be a reasonable classification, she said, adding that it cannot be called unreasonable as violative of Article 14.
Justice Trivedi also said that though it was envisaged that reservation must have a time span, it has still not been accomplished even after 75 years of Independence
Justice J B Pardiwala is in favour with the views of Justices Maheshwari and Trivedi. He said that reservation is not an end, but a means to secure social and economic justice and it should not be allowed to become a vested interest.