Sunday, December 3, 2023

Supreme Court has “upper caste mindset”: Congress’s Udit Raj on EWS verdict

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While the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) was hailed by Congress, former MP and Congress leader, Udit Raj struck a discordant note. Raj has tweeted that the Supreme Court has an “upper caste mindset.”

“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%,” Raj tweeted.

Dr. Raj, senior Dalit politician, went on to say: “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.”

The Congress sought to claim credit for the EWS quota and said its background work to implement this when it was in power (2004-14) helped.

The Supreme Court Constitution Bench has by a 3:2 majority upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment which introduced a 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in education and government jobs.

While three judges of the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India uphold reservations for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), two judges including CJI dissent on the exclusion of SCs/STs from the 10% EWS quota.

There are four judgments in the case. One judgment is by Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and the second judgment is by Justice Bela Trivedi. The third judgment has been passed by Justice JB Pardiwala and the dissenting judgment is by Justice Ravindra Bhat and CJI UU Lalit.

As per the majority view, reservation structured singularly on economic criteria does not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.

It has also held that a breach of the 50% ceiling limit by EWS reservation does not violate basic structure, Live Law reported.

“Reservation is an instrument of affirmative action by State so as to ensure all inclusive approach. It is an instrument not only for inclusion of socially and educationally backward classes…Reservations for EWS does not violate basic structure on account of 50% ceiling limit because ceiling limit because ceiling limit is not inflexible,” read the judgment by Justice Maheshwari.

In his dissenting judgment, Justice S Ravindra Bhat said that by excluding the poor among SC/ST/OBC from economically backward classes, the 103rd Amendment practices constitutionally prohibited forms of discrimination.

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