[Petitions for EWS Quota] Supreme Court to refer a 5-Judge Bench for the answer to Substantial Questions

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice Subhash Reddy and Justice BR Gavai referred to a batch of writ petitions which challenged the 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) introduced by 103rd Constitution Amendment passed by the Parliament in 2019.

The petitioners pleaded that the backward classes cannot be solely determined on the basis of their economic criterion. They also contended that the 103rd Constitution Amendment is violates the 50% quota for affirmative action and reservation as held in Indra Sawnhey & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.[1] and also the basic structure of the constitution and thus the matter should be heard by the constitution bench with application the ‘width test’ and ‘identity test’ as per the case of M. Nagaraj & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.[2]

The bench, after hearing the contentions of the parties, said that as per Article 145(3) of the Constitution of India and Order XXXVIII Rule 1(1) of the Supreme Court Rules (2013), the matter which involves substantial questions of law should referred to a bench of 5-Judges and thus the case which is present before this Hon’ble Supreme Court of India comes under the ambit of Article 145 (3) and Order XXXVIII Rule 1 (1) of the Supreme Court Rules (2013).

Hence, the matter has therefore been placed before the CJI for constitution of a five-Judge bench.

[1] Indra Sawnhey & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors ,1992 Supp (3) SCC 217

[2] M. Nagaraj & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., (2006) 8 SCC 212