10% EWS quota benefits to extend to poor among Maratha and minority communities as well, says Devendra Fadnavis

But Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, says the Supreme Court judgment goes against constitutional provisions

Updated - November 08, 2022 10:21 am IST

Published - November 08, 2022 02:24 am IST - Pune

 Devendra Fadnavis. File.

Devendra Fadnavis. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

After the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker sections (EWS), Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said that this reservation would be applicable for the poorer sections of the Maratha as well as minority communities.  

Speaking in Mumbai, Mr. Fadnavis thanked the Supreme Court for its judgement in upholding the 103rd Constitutional Amendment and lauded it for validating the Narendra Modi government’s efforts in ensuring social justice for the poor of the country.

“The sections who were not getting reservation but were economically backward will now avail the benefits of the EWS reservation. In Maharashtra, there is the long-pending question of the Maratha reservation. Now, poorer sections of the Maratha community as well as minorities will be eligible for reservation under the EWS quota. The SC’s decision has opened new avenues in education and employment for the poor who do not get reservation on caste basis,” said the BJP leader, thanking Mr. Modi and dubbing the SC judgment “a milestone.”

Last year in May, the Supreme Court had scrapped the reservation for the Maratha community (which had been approved during Mr. Fadnavis’ BJP-led government), calling it “unconstitutional.”

While Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, too, welcomed the SC judgement and thanked the Centre for its efforts in bringing the poor into the mainstream, a note of discord against the court’s decision was struck by Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Dubbing the SC judgement “intellectually corrupt” and one that “cannot be sustained under any circumstances”, Mr. Prakash Ambedkar said that it was akin to the introduction of ‘Manusmriti’ by a backdoor method.

“The SC judgement compartmentalises society on the basis of reservation. It not only damages the constitutional principle of social mobility but destroys it,” said the VBA chief.

“The first question is under what provision is Parliament authorised to introduce a new principle in the Constitution. Article 368 says that under powers of amendment, addition, variation and deletion can be made… an addition can be made to ‘social principle’ of reservation, which has already been accepted by the SC. There is no variation or deletion here because this is a new principle. The SC itself says that social and economic reservation are two different things,” he said.

He contended that the principle of social reservation, which was the basic structure of the Constitution, had been amended by introducing this “economic principle as a reservation principle”.

“Once you say both are different, then the source of power of Parliament to introduce a new principle has also to be specified by the SC, which they have not done in this case,” said Mr. Ambedkar.

He further asserted that very soon, dissatisfied communities like the Marathas, the Patidars, the Gujjars and Jats would be taking to the streets and clamouring for reservation along with the OBC community.

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