DATE OF THE CASE: 7th November 2022

APPELLANT: Parties involved in this case were Janhit Abhiyan Akhil Bhartiya Kushwaha Mahasabha, the People Party of India, The Scheduled Caste (SC) / Scheduled Tribe (ST) Agricultural Research and Education Employees Welfare Association and Youth for Equality.

RESPONDENT: The respondent side parties involved in this case were the Union Of India, the State of Maharashtra, the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.


On behalf of the appellants were represented by the Advocates Gopal Sankar Narayana, Meenakshi Arora, Rajeev Dhawan and MN Rao.


Advocates represented were the Attorney General of India, KK Venugopal and the Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta.


This case was dealt with a Five-Judge Bench and this Constitutional Bench was Led by the following BENCH involved:

  1. Former Chief Justice of India- Justice Uday Umesh Lalit,
  2. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat,
  3. Justice Dinesh Maheshwari,
  4. Justice Bela M. Trivedi,
  5. Justice J. B. Pardiwala.


Article 14, Article 15, Article 16, Article 17, Article 21, Article 23, Article 24, Article 26, Article 29, Article 35, Article 38, Article 39, Article 45, Article 46, Article 335, Article 340, Article 366, Article 368.


In this Current Case, the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act [1], on January 9th 2019 was enacted and received presidential approval on January 12th  2019 which was enacted by the government of India for the people who are under Economically Backward Sections. Provided reservation for them with 10% based on their social and educational backwardness only before this, the reservations are granted. The EWS criteria were allotted by the Department of Personnel and Training(DPOT) for the 10% reservation for employment and admissions on January 31, 2019, based on the provisions of the 103rd Amendment and two new clauses into the amendment were added where Article 15(6) [2] and Article 16(6) [3] which deals with the reservations in the educational institutions both government and private, and also the institutions which are also not aided by the government also included except minority institutes which are protected under the Article 30(1) [4] of the Constitution of India. Due to this numerous petitions were filed around 20 in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the 103rd constitutional amendment, arguing that it violated the Basic structure of the constitution by going with the principles of Equality enshrined in Article 14. There was a suggestion to combine this case with Andhra Pradesh reservations, but in the end, it was decided to go with the Problem of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).


Certain issues involved in this case are:

  1. Whether reservation could be granted based on the economic status is it permissible?
  2. Whether it is the case that socially deprived classes such as SCs, STs, OBCs and SEBCs be exempted from the EWS Reservations?
  3. Does the EWS Reservation breach the cap of 50% fixed reservations which was provided in the case of Indra Sawhney?
  4. Can the constitution amendment provided in the 103rd amendment Coerce private aided or unaided institutions based on EWS allotted Criteria?



  • The main contention of the petitioner was the 103rd constitutional amendment which was enacted by the parliament of India, which introduces the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) infringes the principles of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution Right to Equality. Because it discriminates the other castes namely SCs (Scheduled Castes), STs (Scheduled Tribes), SEBCs (Socially and Educationally Backward Classes) and other backward classes (OBCs) from acquiring the EWS quota in the reservation of education and employment.
  • Article 14 of the Indian constitution deals with equality before the law and equal protection of laws for all citizens. As a fundamental right for the citizens, this was violated by the enactment of the new amendment of adding new provisions of Article 15 (6) and 16 (6) of the Act by introducing the EWS reservation which seems to be discriminatory.
  • It contends that the EWS Reservation violates the ‘Basic Structure’ of the Constitution which was established by the Indian judiciary and therefore against the constitutional makers and goes against the principle of social justice. To prevent poverty in the country and to showcase the equality of the people the reservations came into existence and the basic structure doctrine cannot be altered by these amendments, especially the fundamental rights and it was deemed to be unconstitutional.
  • The petitioners argued that the INDRA SAWHNEY[5] case which is known as the Mandal Commission case of 1993 provided the verdict that a 50% reservation limit should not be exceeded in the available seats, except in certain circumstances. This could not be breached by introducing the 103rd amendment if it was executed it would breach the 50% ceiling limit on reservation set by the Supreme Court in the previous case as I mentioned above can be breached if the EWS Reservation comes.


  • The respondent argues that the Enactment of this amendment for EWS Reservation is not violative and also the previous reservations granted to the Scheduled caste (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), SEBCs (Socially and Educational Backward Classes) and OBCs (Other Backward Classes) are not infringed. Where the purpose of the state was executed properly to provide reservations to these classes who are economically marginalized.
  • The state which is allotted 15%, 7.5% and 27% respectively for the above-mentioned castes and stands for the percentage of about 49.5% does not show any discrimination among them and Article 14[6] is also not violated because already special provisions allotted to them are promoting with substantive equality.
  • Even the people who are economically weaker have the right to live with dignity under Article 21[7] of the Indian constitution and they assert that the 50% ceiling can be justified in exceptional circumstances. Introducing EWS reservation is to create a caste-free society and advance economic justice and the 50% reservation allotted in the Mandal commission case stated that the limit can be breached in certain exceptions, so based on this the state has created the new criteria is considered to be as an exceptional case.
  • They cite Articles 38 and 46 of the Directive Principles of State Policies[8], which obligate the state to promote Justice and remove social, political and economic disparities.


The verdict for this case given on 7th November 2022, the five bench supreme court upheld that the validity of the 103rd amendment Act, 2019 which provides EWS Reservation is constitutionally valid with a majority of decision 3:2 ratio of the Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, Bela M. Trivedi, and paridwala formed the majority opinion, while Justice UU Lalit and SR Bhat dissented that the amendment was unconstitutional.

Overall, the judgement behind the “Janhit Abhiyan vs UOI [9] case was valid and the arguments provided by both parties are taken into consideration in a very logical way and justified nature in calculating the constitutional interpretation, flexibility of 50% Ceiling, substantive equality in providing the verdict that does not alter the basic structure of the constitution and do not adhere to the exceeding of 50% allotted seats for a reservation to SCs, STs, and OBCs they noted that the inclusion of economic criteria for reservations of economic criteria goes with the constitutionality ensuring the social justice to everyone. The argument of the petitioner’s side is in breach of the flexibility of the 50% ceiling limit on reservations and the defendant argued in the introduction of new amendment warranties over the exceptional situations in allowing the ceiling and it does not override the flexibility of the previously allotted reservations.

The majority of the judges go with substantive equality in giving their opinion that it does not cross or alter Article 14 and EWS Reservation addresses the economic disparities and aims to promote equality in providing justice by following the provisions involved under the Directive Principles of State Policy and preamble of the constitution.

However, Justice Bhat and UU. Lalit had a different view and declared the Act is unconstitutional. It was discriminatory and had inequality in violating Article 14 of the constitution and excluding the already backward cases from accessing the EWS reservation is violative among the poorest groups of society and it was disadvantageous to the socially and economically backward sections by insertion of the new amendment in adding Article 15(6) and regarding the Article 16(6) was ruled by the Justice Bhat stating that it was constitutionally not valid in providing the EWS Reservations under this provisions excluding the backward caste and it is with lack of representation in specific classes based on economically lower sections which were violative on the principles involved under the Fundamental Principles of the Constitution.


In this case everything was dealt and discussed with many debates  but main goal of the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar  motive was still not seen any where his main purpose of introducing the reservation system is to overcome from the education and economic barrier in studying in the fields of interest and to provides “social equality” but by providing reservation system may be the economically they can able to access the education but introducing this reservation polices and amending many acts and adding removing the provisions when any situation come into the scene but there is no equality was shown among all castes and it is still continuing in the people that they belong to lower castes that is reserving castes and even though they were at high positions if any situation comes the thoughts stuck in the peoples mind was still there and it was continuing to generation out of which 100% only 40 to 50% people are matured in dealing these cases and education is motivating them but still the rest of the people are going on with the same thoughts while fighting for the reservation why don’t like EWS reservation it could be spreaded and distributed to every section of the people and in the Supreme court judgement itself discrimination was seen not only considering the verdict of this case as the both arguments are valid in the place of caste reservation EWS Reservations spreaded over the country not mentioning caste based reservation the social equality can be definitely seen in the society and removing the caste column in every application could be a great change by not mandatory in mentioning taking the consideration of mandatory field of thee families or persons annual income can be seen a drastic change. This helps the easy tracking of the backwards classes in the areas of economy not in the areas of castes even these many reservation policies are existing but still the poverty lies and rich people becoming rich and poor were staying in that stage itself due to many reasons like politics, misuse of electoral and raising of fake certificates and fake income certificate caste certificates and gaining reservations by the people who are having money and again going for reservation policies and in many of the rural areas some of the people still don’t know abut these policies and still they are stepping back in having good education and employment facilities even people going with education when it comes to selection for job bribing stops the knowledgeable persons to get employment this was going and booming like technology but proper reservation system where the Ambedkar envisioned for social equality within ten years of implementation was through out still it continued to exist over seven decades.

Apart from all these debates and the roots of the “age-old caste system”. Where the constitution makers intended to provide equality and justice to the economically backward sections to provide 10% of seats to them in education and employment was finally provided by amending the 103rd amendment act, by adding new provisions awarded the benefits by EWS reservation was upheld and apex court decision in fulfilling the motive to gain economic and social justice to all the citizens was done according to the Preamble of the constitution.


Sri Padmavathi  Mahila Viswa Vidyalayam

[1] https://byjusexamprep.com/upsc-exam/103-constitutional-amendment-act 

[2] ARTICLE 15(6)

[3] ARTICLE 16(6)

[4] ARTICLE 30(1)

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra_Sawhney_%26_Others_v._Union_of_India

[6] ARTICLE 14

[7] ARTICLE 21

[8] DPSP