103 Constitutional Amendment Act

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 30, 2022, 7:37

The 103 Constitution Amendment Act brought in 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society other than Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes for admission to central government and private educational institutions and for recruitment in central government jobs.

The provision also covers private unaided educational institutions, except the minority educational institutions. Here, the economic backwardness is to be decided based on family income.

Impact of Constitution 103 Amendment Act 2019

  • The 103 Constitutional Amendment Act modified Article 15 to allow the government to provide for the progress of economically weaker sections. It also amended Article 16 to facilitate the reservation of economically weaker sections up to 10 percent of all posts. This reservation is additional to the existing cap of 50 percent reservation for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and the Other Backward Classes, thus resulting in about 60 percent total reservation.
  • The act will facilitate more seats in higher education institutions like medical colleges, IIMs, IITs, NITs, etc.
  • Reservation is provided under the 103 Constitutional Amendment Bill irrespective of religion and caste.

Eligible Beneficiaries of the 103 Constitutional Amendment Bill

The eligibility criteria of the beneficiaries are as follows:

  • Those who have a family income of fewer than 8 lakhs annually or own agricultural land of fewer than 5 acres.
  • Those who are not beneficiaries of any existing reservations.
  • Those owning a house above 1,000 square feet or a plot of 100 yards.
  • Those owning a residential plot less than 200 yards in a non-notified municipality area.
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Challenges Ahead for Constitution 103 Amendment Act 2019

Many think that the 103 Constitutional Amendment Bill goes against the basic principles of Indian democracy. They argue that reservation can not be availed of on the basis of economic backwardness alone and must arise from social exclusion. Also, the Supreme Court has capped the reservations at a maximum of 50 percent, and that limit can not be exceeded.

As a result, within hours of the clearing of the Constitution 103 Amendment Act 2019 by the Parliament, a non-governmental organization Youth For Equality challenged it in the Supreme Court by filing public interest litigation. They argued that with the 103 Constitutional Amendment Act coming into force, the total reservation quota will go up to 59.5% which is against the Supreme Court ruling. Furthermore, it violates the fundamental principle of equality.

Another challenge that the act faces is deciding the economic backwardness criteria. Many experts opine that the income threshold prescribed is very high and has been fixed without obtaining or considering any report.

Role of States in the 103 Constitutional Amendment Act

Since this is a central law on employment and education, and employment and education are the subjects on which states and the central government both have jurisdiction, the state governments should validate the Constitution 103 amendment act 2019 before adopting it in the respective states.

With continued arguments over the need for legislation like the 103 Constitutional Amendment Act, authorities should ponder over alternative ways to facilitate the progress of economically weaker strata of the society.

Creating job opportunities, providing good educational infrastructure, offering scholarships can be some of the strategies to address economic inequality.

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FAQs on 103 Constitutional Amendment Act

Q.1. What was the date when the 103 Constitutional Amendment Act came into effect?

Ans: The 103 Constitutional Amendment Act came into effect on 14th January 2019.

Q.2. Name the President who gave assent to the 103 Constitutional Amendment bill.

Ans: President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the 103 Constitutional Amendment bill.

Q.3. Which Supreme Court ruling is contravened by Constitution 103 Amendment Act 2019?

Ans: The Supreme Court ruled that the reservations should not exceed 50 percent, which is contravened by the Constitution 103 amendment act 2019.

Q.4. When was the 103 Constitutional Amendment bill first introduced in Parliament?

Ans: The 103 Constitutional Amendment bill was first introduced in Parliament on 8th January 2019.