Reservation for Economic Weaker Section

The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019


Reservation for Economically Weaker Section



  • The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawar Chand Gehlot on January 8, 2019.

  • The Bill seeks to provide for the advancement of “economically weaker sections” of citizens. 

  • Article 15 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of race, religion, caste, sex, or place of birth. However, the government may make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, or for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. 

The Bill seeks to amend Article 15 to additionally permit the government to provide for the advancement of “economically weaker sections”.  
Further, up to 10% of seats may be reserved for such sections for admission in educational institutions. Such reservation will not apply to minority educational institutions.   
  • Article 16 of the Constitution prohibits discrimination in employment in any government office. However, the government can allow reservation for any “backward class of citizens”, if they are not adequately represented in the services under the state.  The Bill seeks to amend Article 16 to permit the government to reserve up to 10% of all posts for the “economically weaker sections” of citizens.

The reservation of up to 10% for “economically weaker sections” in educational institutions and public employment will be in addition to the existing reservation.
The central government will notify the “economically weaker sections” of citizens on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic disadvantage.

The Constitution amendment Bill was cleared with a majority of the members (319) voting for it, and four against.

Opposition?

  • The Opposition questioned the haste with which the government introduced the Bill, on the last day of the winter session.

  • An eye on the general election 2019.

  • Demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Government?

  • The Bill is aimed at equality for all.

  • The manifestos of most parties promised quotas for the economically weaker sections, and “their commitment to their promise is put to test today.

  • Example: The Congress, in its 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto, had promised reservation for the economically weaker sections.

Some Important Points:

  1. The 10% reservation will be over and above the 50% stipulated by the Supreme Court and is expected to benefit a huge section of upper castes, including Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakurs), Jats, Marathas and Bhumihars and trading castes such as Kapus and Kammas.

  2. The economically deprived among the poor in the other religions will also benefit.

Demand for Reservation in Private Sector

  • Some Political Party says that "the country is more important than caste and demanded that reservation should be extended to the private sector and juridical service."

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