SC’s EWS Judgment Comes under Criticism for Devaluing Social Justice

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The lollipop given to Muslims in the OBC quota may not stand in the scrutiny of the law in view of observation passed by the majority especially Justice Trivedi and Maheshwari, says Supreme Court lawyer Anas Tanwir

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The majority judgment passed by the Supreme Court with regard to 10 percent quota for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) on Monday has been criticised as ‘devaluing the social justice’ and  “discriminatory”.

Three judges of a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice U U Lalit upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitution amendment providing 10 percent reservation to economically weaker sections (EWS) in admissions and government jobs. Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi and J B Pardiwala were other judges who were part of the bench. They were hearing the petitions challenging the amendment in the reservation policy adopted by Narendra Modi Government in 2019.

Reacting to the judgment, Supreme Court lawyer Anas Tanwir told Clarion India that he agrees with CJI Lalit and Justice Bhat that the exclusion of OBC and SC/ST is discriminatory.

The dissenting judgment of Justice Lalit and Justice Bhat said, “This exclusion violates the non-discrimination and non-exclusionary facet of the equality code and in turn, the basic structure. Though it creates opportunities for the EWS sections, the amendment, by keeping out the poor among the SCs, STs and SEBCs out of its limit purview, practises constitutionally prohibited principles of discrimination”.

Tanwir is of the opinion that the majority judgment will weaken the reservation given to the backward communities.  

“As far as the implication of the judgment for Muslims and other communities is concerned, Muslims were never in the purview of the reservation on religious basis. They were part of OBC reservation, which remains 27 percent. In this quota, seats will be reduced and there will be additional 10 percent,” said Tanwir. 

The lollipop given to Muslims in the OBC quota may not stand in the scrutiny of the law in view of observation passed by the majority especially Justice Trivedi and Maheshwari, he said.

Criticising the majority judgment, the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) said that the judgment will devalue the fundamental principles of the social justice.

“The Supreme Court has violated constitutional prohibitions barring discrimination by excluding economically disadvantaged SC/ST/OBC people while preserving the EWS quota (on the pretext that they have received benefits) devaluing the fundamental principles of social justice.#EWS,” tweeted NCDHR.

Reacting to the judgment, prominent Dalit political leader and former MP Udit Raj called the Supreme Court “casteist” saying that the apex court has taken u-turn on the issue of 50% limits reservation. However, when it comes to the reservation for the SC/ST and OBC, Indira Sahani judgement was cited.

“Indira Sahani judgement was of 9 judges bench& fixed the reservation limit to 50 % . Today  judgement in the matter of EWS is of 5 judges which over ruled 9 judges bench. Had it been the matter of SC/ST/OBC, this judgement would been different,” tweeted Raj.

He further said, “I am not against EWS reservation but is pained to observe the upper caste mindset of Supreme Court that it took total U turn today what it had been holding ever since Indira Sahani judgement. Whenever SC/ST/OBC reservation matters came, SC always reminded the limit of 50%”.

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