An Analysis Of Reservation Policy Of Economically Weaker Section (EWS)
NAME: Shikha Mishra
DESIGNATION: Student, Modi Law College, Rajasthan
CONTACT NUMBER: 844*******
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The concept of reservation in India is not recent. It was Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the father of the Constitution of India, who introduced the concept of reservation for Dalits (Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes) in educational institutions and employment. This concept of reservation is truly embodied in the Constitution of India under Article 15 and 16, where the state is free to make any special provisions for the advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes of scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, which includes reservation in educational institutions and employment. However, recently, the reservation of seats in educational institutions and the matter of employment has been extended to the economically weaker sections of people. Earlier, the reservation of seats was limited to only socially and educationally backward classes but after The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, the system of reservation has been extended to another section of people, i.e. economically weaker section.
RESERVATION FOR ECONOMICALLY WEAKER SECTIONS
The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, introduced a new clause in Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India, where the state has the power to make reservations in educational institutions and matters of employment based on economic conditions of the citizen. Article-15(6) of the Constitution gives power to the state to make special provisions for the advancement of economically weaker sections of the citizen, which includes the reservation of seats during admissions, in educational institutions (aided or non-aided by the state). It is noted that the maximum limit of such reservation is 10 %, which is in addition to the existing reservation for socially and educationally backward classes. However, the state cannot reserve the seats in any minority institutions, referred to in Article-30 of the Constitution of India.
Further, Article-16(6) of the Constitution of India also enables the state to make a reservation for the economically weaker section of people in matters of appointment in public employment. Such reservation is subjected to the maximum limit of 10%, which is in addition to the existing reservation.[ii]
The main aim for providing reservation to these economically weaker sections of people is to promote the welfare of the poor. It is to be noted that such reservation of seats is only applicable to that economically weaker section that has not been covered under the policy of reservation for SCs, STs, and OBCs. In others, 10% reservation applies to the general candidates who are economically weaker. Hence, economically weaker sections of SCs and STs are deprived of the reservation which is based on the economic criteria.
However, it is totally up to the state government to decide whether or not such reservation to be provided to the economically weaker section in the matter of admission and employment. The department of Social Justice and Empowerment does not have any role in deciding the policy of reservation.[iii]
ELIGIBILITY FOR RESERVATION
A person must be a general candidate
The gross annual income of such a person should be below Rs. 8 lakhs. While calculating the gross annual income, income from every source such as agriculture, salary, a business must be taken into consideration.
A person shall be excluded from the reservation, irrespective of the income if he owns the following:
Agricultural land of 5 acres or more.
A residential flat of 1000 sq. feet or more.
A residential plot of 100 sq. feet or more in notified municipalities.
A residential plot of 200 sq. feet or more in unnotified municipalities.
DOCUMENTS CONCERNING THE PROOF OF ECONOMICALLY WEAKER SECTIONS
A person cannot enjoy the reservation scheme without having any proof. Income and Asset Certificate, issued by the Competent Authority, must be produced as proof for availing the benefits of the reservation. The competent authorities whose certificates can be accepted as proof are mentioned below [iv]:
DistrictMagistrate/AdditionalDistrictMagistrate/Collector/DeputyCommissioner/Additional Deputy Commissioner/ 1st Class Stipendary Magistrate/ Sub-Divisional Magistrate.
Revenue Officer (not below the rank of Tehsildar)
Sub Divisional Officer of the area where the candidate resides.
However, the document which needs to be submitted for obtaining the Income certificate varies from one state to state. It is to be noted that the State Government has the power to decide its criteria for reservation which may even exceed the 10% reservation policy of the central Government.[v]
Therefore, it can be concluded that from 2019 onwards, the policy of reservation has been extended to the Economically Weaker Sections as well. However, such reservation is limited to 10% of the total seats in an educational institution and matters of public employment. It is to be noted that the criteria of 10% reservation has been decided by the Centre, and the State is free to reserve seats above the 10 % criteria. Several petitions have been filed in The Supreme Court, challenging the 103rd Amendment Act, 2019, on the ground of equality. The PILs are still pending in the Supreme Court.