An Analysis of the Constitutionality of the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) Reservation
10 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020
Date Written: NOVEMBER 24, 2019
The 103rd constitutional amendment introduced reservation of up to 10 percent in government jobs and educational institutions for “Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)” which is currently includes citizens with an annual income of less than Rs.8 Lakh. The pool of eligible citizens excludes those already covered under Articles 15(4) and (5), and Article 16 (4) of the constitution - which provides for reservations for SC’s, ST’s and Other backward classes. As a result, only citizens belonging to upper castes will be eligible for reservations under this amendment. This amendment prima facie fails the twin test of backwardness which has been held as to include “socially and educationally backward communities”. Further, affirmative action based on economic critieria and wealth discrimination cannot be upheld under the doctrine of reasonable classification. Economic backwardness or poverty alone is not relevant under art. 15(4), but in some cases, along with other circumstances it may be indicative of social backwardness. This paper analyses the constitutionality of the EWS reservation in light of the established constitutional jurisprudence and judicial precedents.
Keywords: Constitutional Law, Reservation, Economically Backwards Sections, Article 15, Article 16, Socially and Educationally Backward, Reservation, Affirmative Action
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