Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections

The Central Government introduced 124th Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament to benefit with the reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among the complete class of aspirants. The move is to supply a 10% reservation in education and government employment. This reservation is progressive because it could address the matter of income and academics unequally thanks to financial incapacity among individuals.

Aside from the already reserved backward classes, there’s an outsized section of the society that resides in hunger and poverty-stricken conditions. This reservation could also reduce the stigma that has been related to reservation for its till now been associated with caste. The amendment to Article 15 of the Constitution is linked to the expansion of economically weaker sections of the citizens and their reservation for admission to educational institutions (including private institutions, aided or unaided by the State), whereas Clause 6 of Article 16 is regarding reservation of economically weaker sections in case of public employments.

The reason appended to the amended Article provides for the meaning of “economically weaker sections” which shall be decided by the State from time to time on the idea of “family income” and “other signs of an economic hindrance”. It’s relevant that the reservations made for the economically weaker sections would be to a maximum limit of one-tenth, furthermore to the dominant reservations provided under the Article and would eliminate the classes that have already benefited through previous clauses of the Article (i.e. SC, ST, and Other Backward Classes).

Constitutional amendments concerning reservations, the Supreme Court has generally been acquiescent, and therefore the only two areas where it’s taken a firm stand thus far are with reference to the ’50 percent ceiling rule’ and therefore the concept of ‘creamy layer’. It remains to be seen if the Supreme Court will stand sort of a rock and reaffirm the ’50 percent ceiling rule’ or allow itself to be caught in a frenzy by the political currents.


The framers of the Indian Constitution, at the time of drafting the Constitution, had considered the prevalent state of affairs that unpleasantly affected the equality of the country. There has been an outsized number of under-privileged sections of individuals who experienced social discrimination through centuries under the garb of class structure and therefore the members of such so-called lower classes required an adequate representation within the society.

Efforts had made to bring weaker sections at par with the financially strong sections of the society through the policy of reservations, which is taken into account as a beneficial or protective perception implemented within the Constitution. With the changing times, casts not are often the only criterion for detecting socially backward classes because a number of them have achieved economic status, thereby finding a social standing also.

However, even today poverty remains a barrier to attaining equality and there’s big discrimination between the people of special economic status. The govt. has thus utilizing economic reservations taken a revolution to eradicate this type of discrimination as a way of achieving equality within the nation.


The troubled legal history of reservations in our country shows that from 1951 onwards as the Supreme Court gave a hostile ruling on some aspects of reservations in education or public employment, the Parliament responded by amending the Constitution to overcome the troublesome judicial pronouncements. The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, is that the latest step during this direction to beat the Supreme Court’s bar on economic criteria for backwardness and therefore the 50 per ceiling on total reservations. 124th Constitution Amendment Bill (2019)

• The Constitution in 124th Amendment Bill, 2019 provides a ten percent reservation to the economically weaker sections (EWS) within the General category. The bill accelerates reservation for EWS in direct recruitments in jobs and admission in advanced educational institutions. 

• The reservation of EWS of the general category is being given without altering the prevailing quotas for SC, ST, and OBCs people. 

• The bill is predicted to profit an enormous section of upper castes including Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakurs), Jats, Marathas, Bhumihars, and several other trading castes including Kapus and Kammas.


The Constitution (Amendment-103) Act, 2019 has empowered the state to fund 10 percent reservation in education and public employment for “economically weaker sections” of citizens aside from the Scheduled Castes (SC), the Scheduled Tribes (ST), and therefore the non-creamy layer of the opposite Backward Classes (OBC-NCL).

This may be above the principal scheme of reservations and escalates the entire reservations to 59.50 percent. The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, enforced on January 14, 2019, has amended Article 15 and 16 by adding two new clauses which empower the state to supply a maximum of 10 percent reservation for EWS of citizens aside from the SC, the ST and therefore the non-creamy layer of the opposite Backward Classes (OBC-NCL).

The new clause (6) of Article 15 allows the state to form any “special provision” including reservation in admissions to educational institutions, whether aided or unaided, aside from minority educational institutions under Article 30(1). The new clause (6) of Article 16 allows reservations in job selections or posts under the state.


The Constitution 124th Amendment Bill (2019)

Constitution 124th Amendment Bill, 2019 provides a ten percent reservation to the economically weaker sections in the General category of people seeking education and public employment. The bill facilitates reservation for EWS in direct recruitments of jobs and admission in advanced education.

The reservation of Economic weaker i.e EWS of general category will be given benefits in education as well as employment without altering the existing quotas for SC, ST, and OBCs people.


Amendment to Article 15 (Reservation in Educational Institutions) of the Constitution of India:

• In Article 15, after clause (5), the next clause shall be inserted, namely:— ‘Nothing during sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of Article 19 or Article 29 (2) shall stop the State from making,— any special provision for the expansion of any economically weaker sections of citizens apart from the classes point out in clauses (4) and (5) in so far extraordinary provisions associated to their admission to advanced educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, apart from the minority educational institutions mentioned in clause (1) of Article 30, which within the case of reservation would be furthermore to the principal reservations and subject to a maximum of ten percent of the whole seats in each category for advanced education and employment opportunities. 

Amendment to Article 16 (Reservation in Jobs) of the Constitution of India:

• In Article 16 of the Constitution, after clause (5), the next clause shall be inserted, namely:— “(6) Nothing shall stop the State from making provisions for the reservation of recruitments (jobs) or posts in favor of economically weaker sections of citizens apart from the classes mentioned in clause (4), moreover to the principal reservation and subject to a maximum of ten percent of the posts in a general category.”

Judicial Attitude

In M.R. Balaji V. State of Mysore (1963), the Supreme Court has fixed a limit to reservations and held that the 50 percent ceiling limit ought to not be crossed for the aim of reservations. The SC applied this judgment to strike down the 68 percent reservation made under Article 15(4) for admissions to medical and engineering colleges within the (then) State of Mysore and administrated that the reservation should in no case exceed 50 percent.

The Court supplemented: “What is true about Article 15(4) is equally true concerning Article 16 (4). There are often slight questions that the Constitution makers assumed (that) . . . care would be taken to not provide for irrational, extreme, or extravagant reservation, for that might, by eliminating over-all competition during a large field and by creating wide-spread dissatisfaction amongst the workers, materially affect efficiency.” Not considering ‘caste’ because the sole criterion or dominant test in determining social backwardness of groups or classes of citizens, but considering economic backwardness as a subsidizing element, the SC has further observed as follows: “Social backwardness is on the last word analysis the results of poverty, to a surely great extent.”

M.G. Badappanavar V. State of Karnataka (2000), the Supreme Court administrated that “equality is that the basic feature of the Constitution and any conduct of equals as unequals or any action of unequal as equals dishonored the essential structure of the Constitution”.

In the landmark judgment of Indra Sawhney V. UOI, 1992:- A bench of nine-judge as the decision of the Supreme Court has rejected economic backwardness as a criterion for reservations. This decision had capped the upper limit of reservation at 50%. It had been further held that social backwardness can’t be determined only concerning an economic criterion. The judgment has however explained that the expression “weaker sections” of the people under Article 46 is broader than the expression “backward class” and includes those who are socially, economically backward, or extracted as weaker sections.

In State of Kerala V. N.M. Thomas (1975), the Supreme Court mentioned a hypothetical example given by English philosopher B. Williams for example the purpose that mere formal equality is insufficient to eliminate deep-rooted discrimination or remove the barriers to equal competition: In other words, if formal equality fosters ‘equality of opportunity’, substantive equality aims at ‘equality of results’. The principle of substantive equality permeates international human rights law and therefore the national laws of all democratic countries.


In an era when ability demands are rapidly overtaking the supply of candidates in specialized fields, the EWS quota growths the constraints. One strategy could be to accept and range the advantages of reservations as extensively as possible within the principal framework and make sure that individuals use their reserved category position just once in their lifetime. We’d like to specialize in reducing inequalities where they first emerge, within primary schools. 

While the intention of the govt. in introducing the policy was to uplift the economically weak, the amendment still stands to be tested on the idea of varied constitutional and judicial grounds. The reservation was started within the past as a short-lived provision for the aim of reducing discrimination. However, whether this provision is really “temporary” are somethings that are debatable. 

The Supreme Court may while choosing this amendment quash it on accounts of being violation of the essential structure doctrine or it’s going to uphold it on the grounds on social justice. Making reforms within the reservation system is the need of the hour. These can be- Restricting its usage to once during a lifetime, providing quality education ranging from the elementary level, etc. It can’t be denied that unequal aren’t to be treated equally, but whether the reservation is that the only solution may be a blooming question that also prevails.


Question 1: Does India need a reservation?

It is the duty of the government to provide equality of status and opportunity.

Question 2: When the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 enforced?

The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, enforced on January 14, 2019.

Question 3: What will the “Economically Weaker Sections Quota bill” amend in the Indian Constitution?

Amendment to Article 15 (Reservation in Educational Institutions), Amendment to Article 16 (Reservation in Jobs).

Question 4: The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in which areas reservation of seats provide to the general category?

Admission for Higher education and Reservation in Jobs.  

Question 5: Does the bill need the approval of more than 50% state assemblies?

The bill does not need the approval of State Assemblies.


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