The Supreme Court on November 7, upheld the validity of reservation in public employment and education for Economically Weaker Sections, specified as persons not already covered under the existing 49.5% reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, and whose family’s gross annual income is below Rs 8,00,000. The 103rd Constitutional Amendment bringing about the Economically Weaker Sections reservation had been passed by Parliament in January 2019 and was subsequently challenged in court by multiple petitioners. The apex court’s judgment clarified that Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes were excluded from Economically Weaker Sections quota, lest they receive “extra or excessive advantage”.
What are the implications of the verdict for India’s reservation policy, until now a caste-based system which provided entitlements and benefits for economically and socially marginalised groups historically discriminated against based on their caste? We asked Ashwini Deshpande, professor of Economics, and founding director, Centre for Economic Data and Analysis, at Ashoka University in New Delhi. Deshpande said the Supreme Court’s verdict poses challenges to tackling poverty and economic inequality for India’s most vulnerable communities.
The Supreme Court has upheld the validity of Economically Weaker Sections reservation, or the ‘10% quota’, through a 3:2 verdict, altering India’s caste-based reservation policy. What are some of the major implications of the verdict?
By stipulating a quota for non-SC-ST-OBC…