[Answered] Analyze the impacts of the recent Supreme Court’s judgment that upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain some positive impacts of the recent Supreme Court’s judgment that upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment. Also write some negative impacts.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The 10% EWS quota was introduced under the 103rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019. It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6). It is for reservation in jobs and admissions in educational institutes for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) but excludes the ‘poorest of poor’ among SC, ST, Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and OBC. Recently the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment.

Positive impacts:

  • The new reservation is in furtherance of the Preamble’s goal of achieving justice — social, economic and political.
  • EWS quota is an affirmative action. Groups already having reservation don’t need additional benefits. There are extremely poor people among the general categories too.
  • This is significant because this shifts the reservation policy from its goal of correcting “social injustice” to correcting “individual deprivation.”
  • The 10% quota is progressive and could address the issues of educational and income inequality in India.
  • The proposed reservation through a constitutional amendment would give constitutional recognition to the poor from the upper castes.
  • Better Targeting: Individuals rather than group became the basis of backwardness.

Negative impacts:

  • Unit of measurement: The Union government maintains lists of SCs, STs and OBCs and these lists explicitly mention the names of castes and tribes that qualify to be included in them. But EWS category targets “families” as opposed to castes or tribes.
  • The 103rd amendment of the Constitution has changed reservation policy from “social” to “individual.” This also allows for a great deal of arbitrariness to be introduced into the policy. The government might face difficulties in defining the EWS category and setting the required income limits for the category.

Reservation is fair, as far as it provides appropriate affirmative actions for the benefit of the downtrodden and economically backward sections of society. But, reservation beyond the limit will lead to the ignorance of the merit, which will disturb the entire administration.

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