Reservation to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)

Understanding the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act


Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment which provides 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) 10% EWS quota was introduced under the 103rd Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2019 by amending Articles 15 and 16.

Who falls under EWS?

  • People in the Unreserved category
  • Annual income < 8 LPA
  • Owning property: <5 acres (agricultural land); <200 m? (residential land)

EWS Quota

  • Based on the recomendations of S.R. Sinho Commission (2010)
  • Introduced under the 103rd Constitutional Amendment (2019) inserting Articles 15 (6) and 16 (6)
  • Provides reservation of 10% to EWS in jobs and admissions in educational institutions
  • Both Centre and States can provide reservation to the EWS

Supreme Court's Stand on EWS

  • SC upheld the validity of 103rd Amendment
  • Majority view - EWS quota doesn't violate Basic Structure of the Constitution and principle of equality
  • Minority view - Excludes poorest of the poor among SCs, STs and OBCs

Arguments In support

  1. Poverty is a marker of social backwardness
  2. Preamble promises social, economic, and political justice - - - > economic backwardness needs to be removed for social justice
  3. Poverty denies equality of opportunity in education and employment (due to lack of monetary resources)
  4. It is a special provision so does not violate the supreme Court cap of 50% in Indira Swahney judgment
  5. Constitutional ammendments made in Article 15 and 16 allow for making special provisions for the advancement of any economically backward sections of the citizens. ( th Ammendment)

Arguments against

  1. Reservations were introduced to correct the historic injustice on the basis of social status
  2. Economic criteria are hard to cross check
  3. Reservation is not meant to be used as an anti-poverty measure, but it is a way to correct historic Injustice and discrimination.


  • It addresses Inequality based on economic status
  • gives constitutional recognition to the poor from the upper castes.
  • it will gradually remove the stigma associated with reservation - as it won't be associated just with caste


  • Unavailability of Data
  • Arbitrary Criteria to determine who falls under EWS


Instead of giving reservation based on different criteria, the government should focus on quality of education and other effective social upliftment measures.

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