Reservations intended to achieve equality of opportunity: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that reservations are intended to achieve equality of opportunity, while hearing a bunch of applications on the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019 that provides 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS).

A bench headed by Justice S.A. Bobde made the observation.

The top court which is currently considering whether the matter requires to be referred to the Constitution bench or not, will continue its hearing on Wednesday as the matter remained inconclusive after it was heard at length.

Appearing for one of the petitioners, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan said that the matter should be referred to a larger bench to decide the question of basic structure as the 103rd Amendment alters the definition of equality, a basic feature of the Constitution, in terms of both its “width” and “identity”.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said that he is ready for final arguments in the matter and on the issue related to referring it to a Constitution bench.

“In principle, we do not want to proceed with a matter and then in-between come to a conclusion that it has to be referred to a Constitution bench,” the bench said.

Venugopal said that three judges and nine benches have already ruled on the central issue.

However, Dhawan contended that 10 per cent quota for EWS was in breach of the ceiling declared by the top court by its earlier Constitution bench’s judgments.

Another petitioner, ‘Youth for Equality’, requested the court to allow 10 per cent reservation for EWS, so long as it does not exceed the 50 per cent ceiling.

On July 1, the apex court refused to stay the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent quota in jobs and education to economically-weaker sections (EWS) of society, saying the matter requires hearing at length.

On April 15, the Union Cabinet had approved provision of reservations in admission for EWS students in central educational institutions.