EWS Reservations: Pre-Judgment Matrix

EWS Reservation

In the first week of November, the 5-Judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit is expected to deliver the Judgment in the challenge to reservations for ‘economically weaker sections’ (EWS), introduced through the Constitution (103rd) Amendment. When the Constitution was framed, reservations were envisioned as a means to address the social, political and economic inequalities faced by historically oppressed communities. This included Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. In contrast, EWS reservations are solely based on economic criteria. Further, the Amendment explicitly excludes backward classes from EWS reservations who are already benefitting from existing reservation schemes.

The Constitution Bench’s Judgment is expected to clarify certain fundamental questions about reservations. What is the purpose of reservations? What should be considered when deciding who should benefit from reservations and how should they be identified? In what circumstances can the 50% ceiling on reservations be breached?

Here, SCO lays out the possible outcomes of the challenge to EWS reservations and the reasoning the Bench may use to substantiate the Judgment.