Reservations intended to achieve equality of opportunity

New Delhi (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that reservations are intended to achieve equality of opportunity, while hearing a bunch of applications on the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019 that provides 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS).

A bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde made the observation.

The top court which is currently considering whether the matter requires to be referred to the Constitution bench or not, will continue its hearing on Wednesday as the matter remained inconclusive after it was heard at length.

Appearing for one of the petitioners, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan said that the matter should be referred to a larger bench to decide the question of basic structure as the 103rd Amendment alters the definition of equality, a basic feature of the Constitution, in terms of both its “width” and “identity”.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said that there is no need to refer the matter to a larger bench, as three judges and nine benches have already ruled on the central issue and even if the issue involves a basic structure challenge, there is no need to refer it to a larger bench.

However, Dhawan contended that 10 per cent quota for EWS was in breach of the ceiling declared by the top court by its earlier Constitution bench’s judgments.

Another petitioner ‘Youth for Equality’ requested the court to allow 10 per cent reservation for EWS, so long as it does not exceed the 50 per cent ceiling.

On July 1, the top court refused to stay the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent quota in jobs and education to economically-weaker sections (EWS) of the society, saying the matter requires hearing at length.

On April 15, the Union Cabinet approved provision of reservations in admission for EWS students in central educational institutions.

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