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EWS reservation: Key quotes from judges

New Delhi: Following are the important quotes from the Supreme Court judgment upholding the validity of the 103rd Constitution amendment providing 10 percent reservation to people belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) in admissions and government jobs;

At the end of seventy-five years of our independence, we need to revisit the system of reservation in the larger interest of the society as a whole, as a step forward towards transformative constitutionalism. – Justice Bela M Trivedi.

Treating EWS as a separate class would be a reasonable classification. – Justice Trivedi.

Merely because the SCs/STs/OBCs are excluded ., by itself, will not make the classification arbitrary and the amendment violative of the basic structure of the Constitution. – Justice J B Pardiwala.

The new concept of economic criteria introduced by the impugned amendment for affirmative action may go a long way in eradicating caste-based reservation. – Justice Pardiwala.

Reservation is not an end but a means a means to secure social and economic justice Reservation should not continue for an indefinite period of time so as to become a vested interest. – Justice Pardiwala.

It is very much necessary to take into review the method of identification and the ways of determination of backward classes, and also, ascertain whether the criteria adopted or applied for the classification of backward is relevant for today’s conditions. – Justice Pardiwala.

The 103rd Constitution Amendment cannot be said to breach the basic structure of the Constitution by permitting the State to make special provisions, including reservation, based on economic criteria. – Justice Dinesh Maheswari.

The 103rd Constitution Amendment cannot be said to breach the basic structure of the Constitution in excluding the SEBCs/ OBCs/ SCs/ STs from the scope of EWS reservation. – Justice Maheswari.

Reservation is an instrument of affirmative action by the State so as to ensure an all-inclusive approach. It is an instrument not only for inclusion of socially and educationally backward classes. Reservations for the EWS does not violate basic structure on account of 50 percent ceiling limit because ceiling limit is not inflexible. – Justice Maheswari.

Introducing the economic basis for reservation as a new criterion, is permissible. Yet, the ‘othering’ of socially and educationally disadvantaged classes including SCs/ STs/ OBCs by excluding them from this new reservation on the ground that they enjoy pre-existing benefits, is to heap fresh injustice based on past disability. The exclusionary clause operates in an utterly arbitrary manner. – Chief Justice U U Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat in minority verdict.

It (the exclusion) ‘others’ those subjected to socially questionable, and outlawed practices though they are amongst the poorest sections of society. Secondly, for the purpose of the new reservations, the exclusion operates against the socially disadvantaged classes and castes, absolutely, by confining them within their allocated reservation quotas (15% for SCs, 7.5% for STs, etc.).

Thirdly, it denies the chance of mobility from the reserved quota (based on past discrimination) to a reservation benefit based only on economic deprivation. – Chief Justice Lalit and Justice Bhat.

The impugned amendment and the classification it creates, is arbitrary, and results in hostile discrimination of the poorest sections of the society that are socially and educationally backward, and/or subjected to caste discrimination. – Chief Justice Lalit and Justice Bhat.

By excluding the poor among SC/ST/OBC from economically backward classes …, the 103rd Amendment practices constitutionally prohibited forms of discrimination. – Chief Justice Lalit and Justice Bhat.

This amendment is deluding us to believe that those getting social and backward class benefits are somehow better placed . The exclusion is based on social origin which destroys the equality code. – Chief Justice Lalit and Justice Bhat.