The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on January 08, 2019, with an aim to provide reservation in higher education and public employment to ‘economically weaker sections of the society. The Bill was passed in the Lower House of the Parliament with only three members voting against it out of the 326 members present and voting, and subsequently being passed by Rajya Sabha as well without any recommendations. On being approved by both the Houses of the Parliament, when the President of India gave his assent to the Bill, the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, came into force with effect from January 14, 2019, as notified in the official gazette by the Central Government.
This hurried passage of the amendment has raised certain doubts on the intentions of the Government, questioning democratic accountability. However, this Article does not delve into the political issue of the amendment and will be limited to the discussions on the legal perspective, critically analyzing the provision as to whether it is constitutionally valid.
The amendment to Article 15 of the Constitution relates to the advancement of economically weaker sections of the citizens and their reservation for admission to educational institutions (including private institutions, aided or unaided by the State), whereas Clause 6 of Article 16 relates to reservation of economically weaker sections in case of public employments. The explanation appended to the amended Article provides for the meaning of “economically weaker sections” which shall be decided by the State from time to time on the basis of “family income” and “other indicators of economic disadvantage”. It is pertinent to note that the reservations made for the economically weaker sections would be to a maximum limit of ten percent, in addition to the existing reservations provided under the Articles and would exclude the classes that have already benefited by way of the previous clauses of the Articles (i.e. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes).
The 103rd Amendment Constitution has been challenged in the form of a petition filed in the High Court by a non-governmental organization called Youth for Equality and a few others, on the grounds that the amendment violates the basic constitutional framework and exceeds the 50 percent limit as determined by the High Court. It is argued that the 103 amendment violates the basic framework because there is a conflict of interest in the existing provisions of Articles 15 and 16 and the amended provisions. In addition, the amendment provides for 10 percent more economic bookings than existing bookings, which means that bookings will exceed 50 percent as stipulated by legal precepts, as the current booking status has reached 50 percent. Another contentious issue in compliance with the constitution is that of non-discrimination. The definition of “economically weak categories” is absurd in the sense that it does not give a precise definition of what constitutes ‘other indicators of economic corruption’ and the definition is left to be determined by the State from time to time.
BASIC STRUCTURE OF DOCTRINE
A full bench was built in the case of Kesavananda Bharati v. The State of Kerala, where a landmark “basic building doctrine” was enacted by the Supreme Court of India, overturned the 1967 Golaknath decision. According to this doctrine, the objectives set out in the Introduction, contain the basic structure of the Constitution, and the same cannot be amended in the exercise of the powers conferred on it under Section 368 of the Constitution. Parliament has not exercised its power to amend under Section 368 ‘harm’, ‘smear’, ‘destroy’, ‘demolish’, ‘alter’ or ‘alter’ the basic framework or framework of the Constitution.5 Any amendment to the Constitution. affecting the fundamental elements in the manner set out above is liable for interference by the Court for that reason. So far as the question is what constitutes the ‘fundamental element’, it will be decided by the Court in each case before it.6 Nevertheless, after the Kesavananda Judgment, many factors have been accepted as fundamental. of the Constitution on various decisions.
A clear understanding of the doctrine of the basic structure makes it clear that all you need is that the basic element, equality, in this case, is not harmed or destroyed and it is difficult to see how economic bookings can damage or destroy the concept of equality. . The government sought protection under the State Guidelines Policy which encourages the State to advance the educational and economic interests of vulnerable groups as provided for under Section 46 of the Constitution. Therefore, Sections 15 (6) and 16 (6) are designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of economic status, providing an opportunity for half of the population to be under-represented in educational institutions or jobs, to strive for equality, and not to challenge the basic structure.
The founders of the Indian Constitution, at the time of the drafting of the Constitution, had always been mindful of the prevalence of nationalism. There were dozens of classes of poor people who faced social discrimination for centuries under the guise of a class system and such so-called minority members needed adequate representation in society. Therefore, efforts have been made to bring these vulnerable sections into line with other sections of society through the booking policy, which is regarded as positive or protective discrimination used in the Constitution. With the changing times, caste can no longer be the only indicator of the backward segments of society because some of them have reached an economic status, thus gaining social status. Even today, however, poverty remains a barrier to equality and there is widespread discrimination among people of different economic statuses. The government, through the recession, is therefore taking a step forward to eradicate this form of discrimination as a way to achieve national equality.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
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