The Supreme Court confirms the application of the EWS quota to non-subsidized private educational establishments

The Supreme Court held that the 103rd Amendment to the Constitution could not be said to violate the basic structure of the Constitution by allowing the state to make special provisions regarding admission to private unaided educational institutions .

Constitution Act (103rd Amendment), 2019

The amendment inserted clause (6) in Article 15 which reads as follows:

(6) Nothing in this section or sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of section 19 or clause (2) of section 29 shall prevent the State from taking,— (a) any special provision for the advancement of any weaker sections of citizens other than the classes mentioned in clauses (4) and (5); and (b) any special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker section of citizens other than the classes mentioned in clauses (4) and (5) insofar as such special provision relates to their admission to educational institutions including private educational establishments, whether or not aided by the State, other than minority educational institutions referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 30, which, in the event of a reservation, would be added to the existing reservations and would be subject to a maximum of ten percent. the total number of places in each category.

One of the issues considered by the Constitutional Court was whether the 103rd Amendment to the Constitution can be said to violate the basic structure of the Constitution by allowing the state to make special provisions regarding admission into non-subsidized private establishments?

It cannot be said that it violates the basic structure

The majority judgments of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Pardiwala relied on the Pramati Educational and Cultural Trust (Registered) and Ors judgment. v. Union of India and Ors. : (2014) 8 SCC 1 to answer the above question in the negative. In Pramati, it was held that the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act 2005 inserting clause (5) of Section 15 of the Constitution could not be said to have altered the basic structure or framework of the Constitution and was constitutionally valid.

Judge Maheshwari held that the 103rd Amendment to the Constitution cannot be said to violate the basic structure of the Constitution by allowing the state to make special provisions regarding admission to private unaided institutions.

“In view of the above, article 15, paragraph 6, which is the subject of the dispute and which provides for the reservation of “SAP other than SC, ST and OBC-NCL” in the establishments of Unaided private education cannot be considered to modify the basic structure and is constitutionally valid.“, noted Judge Pardiwala in his judgment.

Reservations in private establishments are not in themselves contrary to the basic structure

The minority opinion of Judge S. Ravindra Bhat also addressed this issue and observed that the EWS reservation also applies to unassisted private facilities. However, since my analysis under the question on “exclusion” considers that the amendment violates the basic structure, the question here has been rendered moot, Judge Bhat said.

The judge said reservations at private establishments are not in themselves contrary to the basic structure.

“Reservations as a concept cannot be excluded in the private institutions where education is provided. They may not be state-owned or instrumentalized by the state, but the value they add is part of the national effort to development of skills and dissemination of knowledge.These institutions constitute material resources of the community in which the State has a vital interest, and are not simply bodies created to promote the private objective of their founders, contrary to the case of shareholders of a corporation. These institutions are considered part of the state’s effort to raise the level of education in the country, and foster fraternity,…”

Case details

Janhit Abhiyan vs Union of India | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 922 | WP(C) 55 OF 2019 | November 7, 2022 | CJI Judges UU Lalit, Dinesh Maheshwari, S. Ravindra Bhat, Bela M. Trivedi and JB Pardiwala

Summaries

[From Majority Judgment by Dinesh Maheshwari J [ Bela M. Trivedi J and J B Pardiwala J concurring ]

Constitution of India, 1950; Sections 14, 15, 16 – Constitution Act (103rd Amendment), 2019 – Constitutional validity of EWS Quota upheld – Reserve structured solely on economic criteria does not violate any essential feature of the Constitution of India and does not cause any damage to the basic structure of the Constitution of India – Exclusion of classes covered by Articles 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) to benefit from the reservation as economically weaker articles, being such as to balance the requirements of non-discrimination and compensatory discrimination, does not violate the Code of Equality and does not in any way damage the basic structure of the Constitution of India. (Paragraph 102)

Constitution of India, 1950; Articles 14, 15, 16 – Reservation for economically weaker categories of citizens up to 10%. in addition to the existing reservations does not result in the violation of any essential feature of the Constitution of India and does not cause any damage to the basic structure of the Constitution of India due to breach of the fifty percent ceiling hundred. because this ceiling itself is not inflexible and, in any event, only applies to the reservations provided for by Articles 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) of the Constitution of India. (Paragraph 102)

Constitution Act (103rd Amendment), 2019 – The 103rd Amendment to the Constitution cannot be said to violate the basic structure of the Constitution by (1) allowing the state to make special provisions, including reservations, based on economic criteria (2) allowing State to make special provision for admission to unsupported institutions (3) by excluding SEBCs/OBCs/SCs/STs from the scope of the EWS reservation. (Paragraph 104)

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