DMK files review plea on EWS ruling, claims it violates equality

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK on Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of its November 7 verdict upholding the 10% quota granted to persons belong to economically weaker sections (EWS) in education and jobs. The quota was introduced by way of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment. A five-judge SC bench had upheld the amendment by a 3:2 majority.

Contending the verdict “legitimises discrimination”, the plea says all five judges held the amendment cannot be said to breach the basic structure of the Constitution, thereby overruling the landmark Indra Sawhney verdict.

“…this is error apparent on the face of the record since it directly overrules the judgment passed by the nine-judge constitution bench in Indra Sawhney versus Union of India 1992, which has authoritatively pronounced that reservations cannot be on the basis of the economic criteria and such interpretation was on the basis of Articles 14,15(1) and 16(1), not Articles 15(4) and 16(4) alone,” the plea says.

“… after going in depth into how poverty prevents access to education and employment, and the importance of alleviating the same — the majority judges have not given any justification for excluding ST, SC & OBCs from the EWS reservation other than to say that they have already been given reservations…”

“Impugned judgment approves exclusion and discrimination as it permits poor from ST, SC & OBC to be excluded from 10% reservation, when they too are economically backward and therefore it violates equality code,” it argues.

The plea also contends that the impugned judgment lays down a law that Parliament can bring any type of reservations for any category by constitutional amendment and there shall be no bar in the constitution against doing so.

“The 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019 has made a large section of advanced classes viz upper caste of population eligible for easy, exclusive, luxurious reservations. The Constitution has given them a mask to hide behind the misleading term “economically weaker sections”. It’s a fact that they have not suffered social stigma nor discrimination from the society or kept away from jobs or from the mainstream. The constitutional amendment does not define the term “economically weaker sections”.

The word “economically” appearing in the 103rd Constitutional Amendment cannot be disjunctively read in isolation, without the word “weaker sections” to exclude reservations for SC/ST/OBCs (which is in conflict with Article 46) who are constitutionally recognised weaker sections,” the plea states.  Contending that the verdict affects a population of 133 crore, the DMK has sought for an open court hearing.

NEW DELHI: Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK on Monday approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of its November 7 verdict upholding the 10% quota granted to persons belong to economically weaker sections (EWS) in education and jobs. The quota was introduced by way of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment. A five-judge SC bench had upheld the amendment by a 3:2 majority.

Contending the verdict “legitimises discrimination”, the plea says all five judges held the amendment cannot be said to breach the basic structure of the Constitution, thereby overruling the landmark Indra Sawhney verdict.

“…this is error apparent on the face of the record since it directly overrules the judgment passed by the nine-judge constitution bench in Indra Sawhney versus Union of India 1992, which has authoritatively pronounced that reservations cannot be on the basis of the economic criteria and such interpretation was on the basis of Articles 14,15(1) and 16(1), not Articles 15(4) and 16(4) alone,” the plea says.

“… after going in depth into how poverty prevents access to education and employment, and the importance of alleviating the same — the majority judges have not given any justification for excluding ST, SC & OBCs from the EWS reservation other than to say that they have already been given reservations…”

“Impugned judgment approves exclusion and discrimination as it permits poor from ST, SC & OBC to be excluded from 10% reservation, when they too are economically backward and therefore it violates equality code,” it argues.

The plea also contends that the impugned judgment lays down a law that Parliament can bring any type of reservations for any category by constitutional amendment and there shall be no bar in the constitution against doing so.

“The 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019 has made a large section of advanced classes viz upper caste of population eligible for easy, exclusive, luxurious reservations. The Constitution has given them a mask to hide behind the misleading term “economically weaker sections”. It’s a fact that they have not suffered social stigma nor discrimination from the society or kept away from jobs or from the mainstream. The constitutional amendment does not define the term “economically weaker sections”.

The word “economically” appearing in the 103rd Constitutional Amendment cannot be disjunctively read in isolation, without the word “weaker sections” to exclude reservations for SC/ST/OBCs (which is in conflict with Article 46) who are constitutionally recognised weaker sections,” the plea states.  Contending that the verdict affects a population of 133 crore, the DMK has sought for an open court hearing.