EWS quota ‘fraud on statute’, petitioners tell apex court | India News

NEW DELHI: A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by CJI UU Lalit, on Tuesday commenced hearing on a batch of petitions challenging validity of the 103rd constitution amendment for granting 10% reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections with the petitioners calling it a “fraud on the Constitution” and against its basic structure which is inviolable.
During four-and-half hour proceedings, the petitioners, including ex-Andhra Pradesh HC judge V Eswaraiah, submitted that the 103rd amendment was being misrepresented by the government as an economic reservation but in reality, it is quota for socially and educationally forward communities with a creamy layer exclusion based on financial capacity rather than economic and educational criteria. They said the amendment is illegal as it breaches the 50% ceiling in quota and also because it barred SCs/STs/OBCs/ SEBCs from availing the benefit under it despite being on same or lower footing in terms of financial status in comparison to forward class.
It was noted law scholar and advocate Mohan Gopal who got the ball rolling and initiated the arguments, followed by senior advocates Sanjay Parikh and Meenakshi Arora. Appearing on behalf of the ex-HC judge, he forwarded submitted before the bench, also consisting of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi and JB Pardiwala, that the amendment is an “assault” of the Constitution and it amounts to “stabbing” at its heart.
He said the sections of the population “whose economic and educational interests are looked after with special care and protection by the103rd amendment are from classes who are traditionally the sources and causes of social injustice and exploitation”.
“…we must see the 103rd amendment as an assault on the Constitution, inserting in it for the first time a principle that in its essential flavour reflects rather than challenges the ideology of inequality, seeks to nullify and neutralise the Constitution’s social justice agenda of treating unequals unequally to forge an equal society, nullifying the preference given to the lesser humans under ‘Chaturvarnya’ and colonialism, turning reservations, a weapon of social justice, against social justice, stabbing the Constitution in its heart and tearing asunder its soul,” he said.
Contending that economic criteria alone cannot be made the basis of reservation, Sanjay Parikh told the court that EWS quota effectively places the socially and educationally forward groups alongside socially and educationally backward groups who are lower in social hierarchy and it disregards the principle of equality as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution.

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