November 8, 2023
symbolizing justice and order

A reservation of 10% for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society, apart from Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes, was introduced by the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act. EWS are now eligible to apply for positions with the central government and for admission to private and public educational institutions. Private, independent educational institutions are similarly covered by the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, with the exception of minority educational institutions. Here, family income is to be used as the basis for determining economic backwardness.

103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: About

  • The President of India gave his approval to the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act on January 12, 2019. The Indian constitution now includes Article 15(6) and Article 16(6) due to this revision. These recently introduced articles grant economically disadvantaged groups in society a 10% reserve for entrance to postsecondary education institutions and the first diversion from government employment.
  • Purpose: It is relevant to societal segments that are less well off financially. aside from the schedule, scheduled tribes, caste, and other regressive classes. The next noteworthy aspect of this amendment is that it extended the 10% reservation to the economically disadvantaged section of society to private unregulated educational institutions in addition to government-aided ones.

103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: What was the Need?

The need for the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act that is highlighted by various expert from RJS Coaching institutes are as follows:

  • Most upper-caste people continued to live in poverty and endure hunger.
  • The 103rd amendments to the constitution made it possible for upper-caste impoverished persons to receive the same benefits as OBC.
  • The act did away with the disparities in wealth between the most and least affluent segments of society.
  • Reservation used strategies including coaching programs, scholarships, and other initiatives to elevate different social groups.

103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: Contentions Raised


  • The “50% upper ceiling” on reservation set by the Supreme Court in the 1992 Indra Sawhney ruling was referenced by the petitioners opposing the amendment.
  • The petitioners claimed that only the “middle class” amongst the advanced castes received less than 38 lakhs annually as a family began to benefit from the EWS quota due to the exclusion of SC, ST, SEBC, and OBC.


  • According to the Centre, giving the poor sector a 10% quota won’t have an effect on other categories.
  • In order to guarantee that the EWS quota did not negatively affect SC/STS and OBCs, it also brought the court’s attention to the creation of more than 2.1 lakh seats in government educational institutions.
  • The argument put forth was that the quota’s upper limit of 50% is not a “golden unbreakable rule.”

103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: What were the Amendments?

  • The Amendment added clauses 15(6) and 16(6) to the appropriate sections of Article 15 and Article 16 of the Constitution of India.
  • Advancement of any economically weaker sections of the society besides the classes mentioned was one of the purposes for which the Amendment allowed the State to enact laws.
  • Article 15(6)(a) permits the implementation of special provisions of any kind.
  • Article 15(6)(b) expressly addresses admission to educational institutions, including private schools, whether assisted or unaided by the State, with the exception of the minority educational institutions mentioned in Article 30 (1).
  • EWS reservation is required in the case of “appointments or posts,” per Article 16(6).
  • The Act specifies 10% as the upper cap for this reservation.

Who is Eligible under the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act?

The following are the requirements for eligibility for the beneficiaries of the 103 Constitutional Amendment Act that are commonly discussed in various RJS Coaching institutes:

  • Those who either own less than five acres of agricultural land or have a family income of less than eight lakhs per year.
  • Those who do not receive benefits from any current reservations.
  • Those who possess a home larger than a thousand square feet or a 100-yard lot.
  • Owners of residential plots in non-notified municipality areas measuring less than 200 yards.

103rd Constitutional Amendment Act: Challenges Faced

According to the expert mentors in the RJS Coaching institutes, many thinkers believe that the fundamental principles of Indian democracy are violated by the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Bill.

  • They contend that reservations must result from social marginalization rather than just economic backwardness.
  • Furthermore, the Supreme Court set a limit of 50% for reservations, which cannot be surpassed.
  • As a result, a non-governmental organization called “Youth for Equality” filed a public interest lawsuit challenging the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act 2019 in the Supreme Court just hours after the Parliament approved it.
  • They contended that the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act will overturn the Supreme Court’s decision and increase the overall reservation ratio to 59.5%. It also transgresses the essential equality principle.
  • The Act’s establishment of the economic backwardness criterion presents a further challenge.
  • Numerous specialists believe that the specified income standards are excessively high and were set without consulting or getting any reports.

The current modification violates the equality principle because it weakens the fundamental character of the articles that make up the Equality Rule and because Parliament overreached in using its legislative authority to adopt this amendment. In addition, the Amendment transgresses the Basic Structure’s 50% Rule. The Present Amendment further dismantles the idea of Substantive Democracy by giving well-represented classes reservations.

Therefore, the Supreme Court has the authority to overturn a constitutional amendment if it would demolish or otherwise alter the Preamble’s description of the “basic structure” of the constitution.

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