Analysis of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Ruling

Analysis of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Ruling

103 Amendment of Indian Constitution

Relevance for Prelims: about the 103 Amendment of  Indian Constitution.

Relevance for Mains: Provisions of Indian constitution on reservation, amendments, and basic structure. 

News: The question of the constitutionality of the 103rd amendment that deals with EWS reservation has led to a debate

The dissenting judgment versus the judgment in support of 103rd amendment:

  • The 103rd amendment to the Indian constitution inserted articles 15(6), 16(6) to the constitution permitting 10% reservation to those coming from Economically Weaker Sections, in educational institutions and public employment. 
  • Discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity, caste, sex, or place of birth is forbidden by Article 15. Equal opportunity is guaranteed under Article 16 in terms of public employment. As it does for SCs, STs, and OBCs, the extra sections granted Parliament the authority to enact specific legislation for EWS.
  • A commission led by Major General (retired) S R Sinha made recommendations that led to the EWS reservation being approved. The commission, which the UPA administration established in March 2005, turned in its report in July 2010.

103 Amendment of Indian Constitution

Pic: 103 Amendment of Indian Constitution

The dissent argues: 

  • The 103rd amendment violates the basic structure of the constitution. 
  • Equality is an integral part of the basic structure of the constitution.
  • A large section of the poor come from the Dalit, Adivasi, and Bahujan communities. 
  • The UN Committee on Economic, social and cultural rights states that ‘discrimination may cause poverty, just as poverty may cause discrimination. 
  • The concept of intersectionality holds relevance, which means the way various forms of inequality often operate and exacerbate each other. 
  • Reservations based on caste are considered to be not privileges but reparative meant to level the space for communities facing social stigma. 

Essence of Equality: 

  • The dissent talks about the link between, equality, nondiscrimination and the abolition of untouchability.
  • Article 15(1) plays an important role in Equality code. 
  • Article 17 talks about the abolition of untouchability in any form.
  • Articles 17 and 15(1) are said to be part of the basic structure of the constitution.  
  • Articles 14. 15, 16, and 17 are said to promote inclusiveness of all sections of society. 

Benefits of the 103 Amendment of Indian Constitution

  • Lowers Poverty: It should assist the less fortunate among the higher castes. They will have a better opportunity in getting employment and escape their precarious situation.
  • Reduction of fictitious beneficiaries: It would end the desperation of individuals who, in the past, turned to obtaining fictitious Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificates. 
  • Social justice will be ensured since the poor will be given more power and will be able to afford to purchase necessities like shelter, food, and water.
  • Lessen the burden of subsidies and fiscal pressure: As more people are pulled out of poverty, less money will be spent on subsidies and other social issues.

Drawbacks of the Act: 

  • Lack of impartiality: Without conducting a careful investigation or gathering exhaustive evidence from any panel, the government arrived at a percentage of 10%. 10% is therefore not justifiable.
  • Discredits the notion of social justice: According to the idea of social justice, “equal treatment of equals” and “affirmative action for less advantaged sections” are required. Articles 330 to 342 of Part 16 of the Constitution detail unique protections for only four classes: SCs, STs, Backward Classes, and Anglo Indians. As a result, an unequal status will occur.
  • The 10% reservation will be added to the current 50% reservation cap for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes, bringing the total reservation to 60%, in violation of the Basic Structure Doctrine. This will be a violation of Basic Structure Article 14 (Right to Equality).

Further Reading:

  • Procedures of Amendment
  • Basic Structure
  • Debate on the philosophy of reservation
  • The idea of Dalit Capitalism as a replacement to the reservation.


Prelims Question:  

  Question: What is the 103rd Amendment act related to?  

   1. 33% Reservation for women

  2. National commission for backward classes

  3. 10% reservation for EWS

  4. Removal of seats for anglo indian community

Mains question:

Question: The 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act replaces the previous caste-based reservation system with a new one that gives preference to the weaker section of the society. Discuss. (250 words) (250 words)

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Source: The Hindu

Article: The dissenting judgment versus the razing of inequality.

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Plutus IAS current affairs eng med 23rd November 2022

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