10% Reservation for EWS and Social Justice The reservation has been brought by the government to provide equal opportunities in higher educational institutions and employment who had been hitherto excluded due to their economic status. What does the government say?
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- The 103 rd Constitution Amendment Act was passed by both Houses of Parliament implying that it was accepted by all major political parties.
- The reservation has not violated the constitution as the 50% ceiling specified for the backward classes have not been altered.
- The amendments did not violate the basic structure of the Constitution or the apex court’s 1992 ruling in the Indra Sawhney case.
- The fifty percent ceiling on reservation “is only applicable to reservation made under Article 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) and does not apply to Article 15(6)”.
- The government has provided reservation from the category excluding 50% to reserve 10% for the economically weaker sections.
- The move was made following the recommendations of the Commission for Economically Backward Classes, headed by Major General (Retd) S R Sinho.
- The commission was constituted “to suggest the criteria for identification for economically backward classes (EBC) as well as to recommend welfare measures and quantum of reservation in education and Government employment to the extent as appropriate”.
- The Sinho Commission “had, on the basis of NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) Estimates, concluded that BPL percentage was not just high among STs, SCs and OBCs, but were also high amongst the General category, being 18.2 per cent”.
- The NSSO (2004-05) and NFHS (National Family Health Survey) (1998-99) data suggest that there is a need to make provisions similar to the backward classes for the economically weaker sections.
- The government contended that the “newly inserted provisions of Article 15(6) and Article 16(6) are enabling provisions for advancement of the Economically Weaker Sections, and are, in fact, in conformity with the principle of Reservation and Affirmative action, which are the touchstones of protection of equality of citizens and also the basis under Article 15(1), Article 15(2), Article 16(1) and 16(2).
- Article 46 of the Directive Principles of State Policy calls upon the State to “promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker section of the population and protect them from social injustice