EWS quota fraud on the Constitution, dividing country along caste line, petitioners to Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday began hearing arguments on petitions challenging the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, enacted in 2019 to supply a ten per cent quota to economically weaker sections (EWS) in government jobs and admissions.

Legal scholar G. Mohan Gopal, representing some petitioners, submitted before a bench headed by magistrate U.U. Lalit and comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S. Ravindra Bhat, Bela M. Trivedi, and J.B. Pardiwala, that the 103rd Amendment may be a fraud on the Constitution and also the ground reality is that it's dividing the country along caste lines.

Terming the amendment an attack on the constitutional vision of social justice, he said that in his state, Kerala, he's not happy to mention that the govt issued an order for EWS and also the title was 'caste' and that they were all most privileged castes within the country.

Gopal argued that social and academic backwardness are two wings on which reservations depend on and if these are removed, it'd crash. He vehemently argued that the amendment will change the identity of the Constitution within the minds of individuals as something, which protects the privileged rather than the weak. He added that there are structural conditions, which keep certain communities poor and reservation was introduced to grant representation in education and government jobs.

Reiterating the amendment was an attack on the constitutional vision of social justice, he said reservation is just needed to confirm representation in order that it doesn't eat up equality in opportunity, which is that the backward classes' concern.

Gopal submitted the EWS quota excludes socially and educationally backward classes and only forward classes receive the advantages, and it ends up in violation of the principles of social justice and equality, which infringes the fundamental structure of the Constitution.

He said the 103rd Amendment seeks to nullify and neutralise the Constitution's idea of treating unequal unequally, and also socially and educationally backward class criteria, includes economically weaker sections. There can not be social backwardness without economic weakness and that they go hand in hand, he added.

Gopal contended that if this was really an economic reservation, it'd run to poor people no matter their caste, however, it absolutely was not done.

"We don't seem to be inquisitive about reservation.. curious about representation. If someone brings an improved way of representation than reservation, we'll throw away the reservation...," he said.

He stressed that equality was always a requirement of backward classes and not the elite classes, because the backward classes needed equality and that they have asked for representation.

The top court will still hear the matter on Wednesday.

On September 8, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had suggested the key issues, including whether the 103rd Constitutional Amendment are often said to breach the essential structure of the Constitution by permitting the state to form special provisions, including reservation, supported economic criteria?

The others were whether the Constitutional Amendment are often said to breach the fundamental structure of the Constitution by permitting the state to create special provisions in relevancy admission to non-public unaided institutions? And, can the amendment be said to breach the essential structure of the Constitution also in excluding the SEBCS/OBCs/SCs/STs from the scope of EWS reservation?

The five-judge Constitution bench, headed by magistrate Lalit, said the three issues suggested by the AG broadly covered all the aspects raised within the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment.

The Centre had earlier told the apex court that a 10-per cent EWS quota was introduced to push social equality by providing equal opportunities in instruction and employment to those that were excluded thanks to their economic status.

A three-judge bench of the apex court in August 2020, had referred the pleas questioning its validity to the Constitution bench.