Shukre Panel on Maratha Quota

GS-2 Mains

Short Notes or Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the significance of the 103rd Amendment in allowing reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and analyze its impact on the existing reservation system.

Context

  • The Shukre Panel, led by Justice Sunil B Shukre, found a concerning rise in child marriage among Marathas while examining petitions challenging the 10% reservation granted to the community.

Background

  • The Maharashtra Assembly passed a bill granting 10% reservation for Marathas in education and government jobs.
  • This law is based on a report by the Shukre Commission, which argued “exceptional circumstances” justify exceeding the 50% reservation limit set by the Supreme Court.

Reservation System in India

  • Existing reservations are provided to:
    • Scheduled Castes (SCs) – 15%
    • Scheduled Tribes (STs) – 7.5%
    • Other Backward Classes (OBCs) – 27% (central government jobs)
  • The 103rd Amendment (2019) allows states to offer reservation to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
  • Several states, including Maharashtra, have passed laws exceeding the 50% limit, but many face legal challenges.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 16: Equality for all citizens with exceptions for reservations for backward classes.
  • Article 16 (4A): Allows reservation for promotions for SCs and STs.
  • Article 335: Recognizes the need for special measures to uplift SCs and STs.
  • 103rd Amendment: Introduced 10% EWS reservation.

Arguments For and Against Reservation

  • For:
    • Addresses social injustice rooted in caste.
    • Fulfills the Constitution’s mandate for substantive equality.
    • Promotes representation of SCs/STs in higher positions.
  • Against:
    • Discourages merit and talent.
    • Economic status may be a better criterion than caste.
    • Reservations should be temporary and not for promotions.
    • Reservation benefits shouldn’t go to well-off members of disadvantaged communities.
    • Lowers overall standards in institutions due to lower cutoffs for reserved candidates.

Way Forward

  • Quota allocation can lead to discrimination against other communities.
  • Reservation policies require careful handling by policymakers.

Indira Sawhney Judgement (Mandal Commission Case)

  • Backward classes can be identified by caste, not just economic status.
  • Upheld 27% reservation for backward classes but capped total reservations at 50%.
  • Reservations limited to initial appointments, not promotions.
  • Creamy layer within backward classes should be excluded from reservations.

 

 

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