Introduction of Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections – Emerging Challenges In Constitutional Law

The constitution of India is the supreme law of India the document lays down the framework and functioning of the fundamental working of government procedures powers and duties of the government and collection of fundamental rights, directive principles and fundamental duties of Indian citizens within and outside territory of India.


The CONSTITUTION OF INDIA was adopted by the constituent assembly (elected by proportional vote) of India on 26th November 1949 and it was enacted on 26th January 1950. In order to remember the importance of 26th November, the INDIAN GOVERNMENT decided to celebrate this day as “LAW DAY”

The newly adopted INDIAN CONSTITUTION replaced the Government of India act,1935 as the country’s fundamental governing document, and the dominion of India became REPUBLIC OF INDIA.


The member of the provisional assemblies were indirectly elected members of the CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY. This assembly served as the first PARLIAMENT of INDEPENDENT INDIA and first met on 9 December 1946 in Delhi. After Independence, the assembly elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as its chairman and began drafting the constitution.

It took almost a period of 3 years to draft our constitution by the constituent assembly.

Dr. Ambedkar became the head of the drafting committee hence he is known as father of the constitution.

The total membership of the constituent assembly was 389 of which 292 were representatives of the states,93 represented the princely states and four were from the chief commissioner provinces of Delhi, Ajmer Coorg and British Baluchistan.



We have been witnessing the debate on whether we should have caste based reservation in developing nation like India or not since the Independence of our nation but we haven’t come to any consensus ad idem when it comes to reservation people from socially backward classes consider it as a necessary safeguard of their existence whereas people from upper caste presume it as an exploitation. We also came across various kinds of aggressive approach by the people while demanding reservation for their respective community (recently the JAT RESERVATION agitation was series of violent protests in north India specially in HARYANA which paralyzed the state for 10 days) on the contrary THE MANDAL COMMISION PROTESTS OF 1990 were against the reservation in government based jobs on caste in India.

To sum up it all reservation has always been a topic of intense controversy in our country for decades.


It was 2014 when BJP came into power with unprecedented majority in LOK SABHA and Mr. NARENDRA MODI became the prime minister of the nation it is said that more responsibility comes with more power and MODI JI was supposed to fulfill the aspirations of billions of Indian citizens.

It is a well-established fact that the core vote bank of BJP consists votes of “UPPER CASTE” voters in a very significant number and in even parent organization of BHARTIYA JANTA PARTY i.e. RASHTRIYA SWAYAM SEVAK SANGH and VISHV HINDU PARISHAD  is inclined towards HINDUTV IDEOLOGY and with all those factors it was known to everyone that government would definitely come up with a surprise for UPPER CASTE people sooner or later but on the contrary in the august 2018, the PARLIAMENT OF INDIA passed the SCHEDULE CASTES AND TRIBES (PREVENTION OF ATROCITIES )AMENDMENT BILL,2018 to bypass the ruling of the supreme court of India laying down procedures of arrest under the act.

While the honorable court said that on various occasions innocent people were being termed as accused and public servants deterred from performing their duties, which was never the intention of the Legislature while enacting the “THE SCHEDULE CASTES AND THE SCHEDULED TRIBES (PREVENTION OF ATROCITIES) ACT”

The apex court further said that there is no bar against grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act, if no prima facie case is made out or where the complaint is because of mala fide intention.

Even with all those observations of the apex court, the parliament came with this amendment that consists following provision;

(a) preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of a First Information Report against any person; or

(b) the investigating officer shall not require approval for the arrest, if necessary, of any person, against whom an accusation of having committed an offence under this Act has been made and no procedure other than that provided under this Act or the Code shall apply.

The provisions of section 438 of the Code shall not apply to a case under this Act, notwithstanding any judgment or order or direction of any Court.”.

The impact of this amendment bill was clear after the assembly elections of 2018 in RAJASTHAN, MADHYA PRADESH AND CHATTISGARH (commonly known as Hindi heartland) where BJP lost all those states and the primary reason behind this turmoil by various political analysts was SC/ST AMENDMENT ACT.

It was the biggest defeat of BJP after coming into power in the central government and there were some serious issues that needed to be addressed in order to maintain its dominance in Indian political regime.

The general elections of 2019 were not far and modi ji had to do something so that he can win the trust of his core vote bank and with all those speculations one fine day something unprecedented happened parliament decided to introduces 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of society for admission to Central Government-run educational institutions and private educational institutions (except for minority educational institutions), and for employment in Central Government jobs officially known as Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019.


1. Bill got assent of the President of India on January 13 and the bill was passed in LOK SABHA by 323 members in favor while 3 were in oppose while in RAJYA SABHA 165 members supported while 7 opposed it.

2. It applies to citizens belonging to economically weaker sections from upper caste only.

3. It provides reservation of jobs in central government jobs as well as government educational institutions. It is also applicable on admissions to private higher educational institutions.

4. The primarily objective of the bill was to enable people from economical backward upper caste to get higher educations and better job opportunities as an overall development of society.


In order to get benefit to get reservation one should fulfill all those following criteria

Persons who are not covered under the scheme of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs and whose family has gross annual income below Rs 8 lakh (Rupees eight lakh only) are to be identified as EWSs for benefit of reservation. Income shall also include income from all sources i.e. salary, agriculture, business, profession, etc. for the financial year prior to the year of application.

Also, persons whose family owns or possesses any of the following assets shall be excluded from being identified as EWS, irrespective of the family income: –

  • 5 acres of agricultural land and above;
  • Residential at of 1000 sq. ft. and above;
  • Residential plot of 100 sq. yards and above in notified municipalities;
  • Residential plot of 200 sq. yards and above in areas other than the notified municipalities.

The property held by a “Family” in different locations or different places/cities would be clubbed while applying the land. or property holding test to determine EWS status

The term “Family” for this purpose will include the person who seeks benefit of reservation, his/her parents and siblings below the age of 18 years as also his/her spouse and children below the age of 18 years.


The benefit of reservation under EWS can be availed upon the production of an Income and Asset Certificate issued by a Competent Authority. The Income and Asset Certificate issued ‘by anyone of the following authorities in the prescribed format shall only be accepted as proof of candidate’s claim as ‘belonging to EWS: –

(i) District Magistrate/Additional District Magistrate/ Collector/ Deputy Commissioner/Additional’ Deputy Commissioner/ 1st Class Stipendiary  Magistrate/ Sub-Divisional Magistrate/ Taluka Magistrate! Executive Magistrate/ Extra Assistant Commissioner

(ii) Chief Presidency Magistrate/Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate/ Presidency Magistrate

(iii) Revenue Officer not below the rank of Tehsildar and

(iv) Sub-Divisional Officer or the area where the candidate and/or his family normally resides.

The Officer who issues the certificate would do the same after carefully verifying all relevant documents following due process as prescribed by the respective State/UT


In order to pass this ambitious amendment, bill it was important to amend few articles of the Constitution already present and they are given below-

  •  Article 15 (6) is added to provide reservations to economically weaker sections for admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of Article 30. The amendment aims to provide reservations to those who do not fall in 15 (5) and 15(4) (effectively, SCs, STs and OBCs).
  • Article 16 (6) is added to provide reservations to people from economically weaker sections in government posts.


When Modi Government passed this constitutional amendment bill within some hours a non-governmental organization YOUTH FOR EQUALITY filled a PIL in SUPREME COURT.

The reasoning behind the challenge of this bill was since our constitution doesn’t allow reservation on the basis of economic criteria the aforementioned amendment is against the BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE CONSTITUTION and since supreme court has ordered the maximum reservation shouldn’t exceed 50% under all quotas hence it should be declared NULL AND VOID.

On the other hand, DMK filled a petition in MADRAS HIGH COURT arguing the only criteria of reservation should be community of an individual he belongs to we shouldn’t give reservation on the basis of economic grounds but CJI RANJAN GAGOI HEADED BENCH declined to pass a stay on the amendment but he agreed to hear the petitions challenging the amendment.


Providing 10% reservation to economic weaker section form upper caste is a really phenomenal and bold initiative by Modi government without any second thought no government in past had given any heed to requirements and needs of people from upper caste they have been always obsessed with Dalits and Muslims only.

But the government needs to think more about the guidelines and modus operandi that are essential to avail this benefit and make a stronger mechanism for issuing of EWS CERTIFICATES as we generally see people with good connections always make mockery of law and order and a result deserving people lose their chances to excel in life.

Hence it would be mandatory for the government to make a separate department/agency responsible for issuing certificates and a strong monitoring is required so that only deserving people can avail these benefits and we can make a more equal nation (socially, financially).



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