What is 103rd Amendment Act, 2019 in Indian Constitution?
As a result of the 103 Constitution Amendment Act, the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes now have a 10% reservation for admission to central government and private educational institutions, as well as recruitment into central government jobs.
Private unaided educational institutions are also covered by the clause, except minority educational institutions. Economic backwardness is measured based on household income.
Key highlights 103 Constitution Amendment Act:
This is in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that asks the Supreme Court to intervene so that the 10% EWS quota can be implemented in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka without disrupting the existing reservation framework, which includes the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Backward Classes (BC), and Most Backward Classes (MBC).
The Amendment Act’s ten percent reservation is in addition to the current ten percent reservation. It does not affect or infringe on anyone’s basic rights to equality but instead grants the EWS equal participation and representation.
The Centre notified the Supreme Court that it has no role in deciding any state government’s reservation policy. The reservation under Articles 15(6) and 16(6) must be decided by the affected state governments.
Background of 103 Constitution Amendment Act:
According to the mandate of the 103rd Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 2019, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking direction to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to implement a 10% quota in jobs and education for EWS.
Neither Tamil Nadu nor Karnataka, according to the plea, had adopted the modification.
It further noted that in Tamil Nadu, 69 percent of jobs and school seats are reserved for SC’s, ST’s, BC’s, and MBC’s, compared to 70 percent in Karnataka.
The 2019 Constitutional (103rd Amendment) Act:
It amended Articles 15 and 16 to create an economic reserve. It amended the Constitution to include Articles 15 (6) and 16 (6), allowing reservation for the economically disadvantaged in the unreserved category.
Furthermore, it was passed to help the poor who were left out of the 50 percent reservation policy for SC’s, ST’s, and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC).
Not only that, but it empowers both the Centre and the states to grant reservations to the society’s laws.
Because this is federal legislation affecting issues on which both the states and the federal government have jurisdiction (employment and education), state governments must approve it before it can be implemented locally.
Examining the 103 Constitution Amendment Act:
The problem when the Constitution was modified was fulfilling the fundamental structure doctrine’s standards. Since it was an established notion that reserve should be limited to 50%, the Supreme court in Mr. Balaji vs. the State of Mysore held that if the quota exceeded 50%, it would suggest dominance over Section 16(1) of the Constitution. The Indian government established a 10% reserve for the poorest 10% of the population. Indira Sawhney vs. Union of India resulted in its removal.
All of these decisions were made with the law and legislation in mind, which have never been disregarded in contravention of the fundamental structural theory. Only a ten percent reserve appears to be provided by the amendment. Using the law, Articles 15(4), 15(5), and 16(4) do not specifically state that the reserve must be 50%. As a result, any challenge based on a breach of the fundamental structural concept is invalid. A writ petition was filed by Youth for Equality, stating that the modification appears to contravene the fundamental structural concept.
Advocate Pawan and advocate Deepak have filed two further petitions. Given that the amendment was framed with equality in mind, it’s difficult to understand how the reservation undermines the principles of equality and basic structure.
In the case of Kesavananda Bharati vs. the State of Kerala, the Supreme Court said unequivocally that no law may be issued in the Indian Gazette that undermines or damages the fundamental framework of the Indian Constitution. As a result, it may be argued that the 103rd Amendment was properly crafted and effectively combated educational and social inequity by incorporating Articles 15(6) and 16(6).