KK Venugopal Law Insider

Prerna Gala

Published on: September 8, 2022 at 18:18 IST

The Attorney General of India (AG), KK Venugopal, will raise three concerns during the Supreme Court hearing for the appeals challenging the constitutionality of the 10% quota for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).

On Thursday, a Constitution bench consisting of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi, and JB Pardiwala issued a directive stating that the hearing would be based on three of the four points raised by the AG.

“The first 3 issues suggested by AG are the issues which arise in the matter. Other issues suggested are in the nature of submissions advancing one of the propositions emerging from issues suggested by AG. We shall be going ahead with the hearing apropos the first 3 issues suggested by the AG,” the Court said.

These are the three problems:

  • Whether the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which allows the State to create exceptional provisions, including reservations, based on economic criteria, violates the Constitution’s fundamental principles?
  • Whether the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which allows the State to enact unique rules for admittance to private institutions without government funding, violates the Constitution’s fundamental principles?
  • Does the 103rd Constitutional Amendment violate the Constitution’s fundamental principles by removing SEBCs, OBCs, SCs, and STs from the application of the EWS reservation?

The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, is being challenged in a number of petitions before the top court on the grounds that economic classification cannot be the only basis for reservation.

The petitions were filed by NGOs, including Janhit Abhiyan and Youth for Equality.

For “Economically Weaker Parts” of citizens other than Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of people, 10% of seats in public and private educational institutions as well as in public jobs are reserved.

The petitioners have argued that the amendment contradicts the Constitution’s fundamental principles and the 50 percent overall cap on reservations required by the ruling in the Indra Sawhney case.

They have claimed that the 10% allocation of seats for EWS who are not SC/ST/OBCs is arbitrary and excessive.

They have also contended that allowing reservations in educational institutions violates core structural principles and that the term “class” as used in Article 46 of the Constitution only refers to classes with low educational attainment.

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