New Delhi:- The Supreme Court said on Thursday that from September 13 it will begin hearing the petitions challenging the validity of the 103rd Constitutional amendment, enacted in 2019, to provide 10 per cent quota to economically weaker sections (EWS) in jobs and education.
Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal suggested some key issues — whether the 103rd Constitutional amendment can be said to breach the basic structure of the Constitution by permitting the state to make special provisions, including reservation, based on economic criteria?
Whether the 103rd Constitution amendment can be said to breach the basic structure of the Constitution by permitting the state to make special provisions in relation to admission to private unaided institutions?
And, can the amendment be said to breach the basic structure of the Constitution also in excluding the SEBCS/OBCs/SCs/STs from the scope of EWS reservation?
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice U.U. Lalit said the three issues suggested by the AG broadly covered all the aspects raised in the petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the 103rd Constitutional amendment.
The bench, also comprising justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S. Ravindra Bhat, Bela M. Trivedi and J.B. Pardiwala, noted the issues framed by several counsels and then decided to take up the three questions framed by the AG as the core issues to be decided.
The bench scheduled the batch of pleas filed by the NGO ‘Janhit Abhiyan’ and others for hearing from September 13.
Senior advocates P. Wilson, Sanjay Parikh and other counsels suggested their own issues for adjudication by the court.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan submitted that there are nearly 55 such issues, which were suggested by the counsels representing various parties in the matter.
The Centre had earlier told the apex court that a 10 per cent EWS quota was introduced to promote social equality by providing equal opportunities in higher education and employment to those who were excluded due to their economic status.
A three-judge bench of the apex court in August 2020 had referred the pleas questioning its validity to the Constitution bench.