ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Does EWS Reservation Redraft the Principles of Social Justice?

The reservation for the economically weaker section has received wider political support, and now with the Supreme Court’s pronouncement in its favour has made it infallible. However, the judiciary is under scrutiny for ignoring the historical context and constitutional principles under which the prospect of social justice policy is constituted. Interestingly in the Court’s 3:2 bench decision, the two judges in opposition have raised pertinent questions on the ethical aspect of the reservation policy. It appears that the sole criterion of economic backwardness would not supplement the constitutional principles and will defeat the basic purpose of the reservation policy.

As the third decade of the post-liberalisation policies in India begins, we witness that the bold hopes of India’s rapid economic growth and prosperity have come under severe doubts. The liberalised market has visibly introduced a niche class and an upward mobile professional elite in India. However, a vast majority of the population, especially a large section among the Dalit–Bahujan–Adivasi masses, still survive in precarious socio-economic conditions. Poverty, growing inflation, lack of employment opportunities and the recent crises and tragedies, like the demonetisation and COVID-19 pandemic, have burdened the lives of the common people exponentially, making them more vulnerable and depressed. It is obvious to argue that along with the socially marginalised communities, the growing economic depravity must have engulfed the social elites too, making them a part of the poor mass.

As a response to this growing economic crises, the Bharatiya Janata Party led current regime at the centre has become more welfarist in the last few years. It has announced multiple policies for the poor, including the extension of the reservation policy for the economically weaker section (EWS). It acknowledges that a significant section among the social elites survives in wretched poor conditions and hoped that such institutional support may bring some solace to the upper-caste downtrodden. The government jobs and admission in the institutions of higher education have still remained crucial symbols of middle-class status and the lower classes look upon these sectors with aspirational values.

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Updated On : 27th Feb, 2023
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