A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court is all set to hear a batch of review petitions challenging its earlier verdict validating the reservations for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) next week, the ANI reported.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud will review the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act which provides 10 per cent reservations in government jobs and educational institutions to EWS category students.
The apex court had earlier validated the amendment act when a five-judge bench upheld its validity by a 3:2 majority in November.
In its judgement, the court said that quotas can be based on economic criteria alone, they can exclude SC/ST/OBC communities, and breaching the 50 per cent limit (set by the Indira Sawhney judgement) was justified in this case.
Justice Ravindra Bhat remained the dissenting judge over all the issues stated above, on the grounds that the EWS quota is violative of the basic structure of the Constitution of India. He held that the provision violates the Right to Equality which is a fundamental right provided by the Constitution.
He was also against the exclusion of SC/ST/OBC categories from the judgement since it “confines them within their respective quotas”.
However, several political parties including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) filed a review petition against the November order. DMK has demanded an ‘open court hearing’ of the issue.
DMK was also one of the parties in the original case as it has decided not to provide EWS reservations in Tamil Nadu for government jobs. Party chief M K Stalin lamented the decision as a “setback to the century’s old crusade for social justice”.
Notably, Tamil Nadu already provides 69 per cent reservations in the state, a provision even protected by the Ninth Schedule from judicial review.
The petitioner said that the impugned constitutional amendments are ultra vires as they alter the basic structure of the Constitution of India and has prayed to review the November order.
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