Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He writes about Science and Technology and Environmental issues. Jugeshwor can be reached at: [email protected] Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

Follow him

Wednesday, 30 November 2022 17:27

Chieftainship in Kuki

The Kuki traditional form of governance is based on chieftainship. Every village was like Greek city-states. Each village has got a chief Haosa which the Mizo called it Lal, it is hereditary. He is the owner of ancestral lands and is traditionally the repositories of all powers of administration dealing with the village. His rule is autocratic but not despotic. The concept of chieftainship has taken place among the tribal society in the early stage of evolution of their group life. Inter village rivalry or tribal was common in the past. Everyone was enemy to each other and the stronger rule over the weak. In such circumstances the need for a strong single authoritative figure was essential to lead them in defending the village. The need to solve tribal problems be it social, economic or political gave birth to the concept of chieftainship to maintain justice, protect them from external threat, to administer the village and to protect and preserve the established customs of the villagers. The Kuki chieftainship therefore was a historical requirement and his duties was manifold one of which was defence of the villagers. In due course of time he came to be recognized as the village chief. Village chief is a person belonging to younger branches of the family clan and another type is hereditary chief who is the head of the clan.
Kuki from North-East India continue to practice a traditional chieftainship system, in sharp contrast to the democratic system in the rest of the country, impairment of democracy and development in Kuki areas. There is a need to rethink the relationship between the two systems and prospects within the scope of India’s democracy. The Kukis live in Manipur, Nagaland, Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. The constitution (Scheduled Tribe) order 1950 categorized them under the generic nomenclature’’ Any Kuki Tribe’’. In Manipur they live in all hill districts and certain in the Imphal Valley. They constitute the second largest population in Manipur. In Nagaland they are found living in the three districts, Kohima, Dimapur and Phek.Some live in Meghalaya as well as in Tripura. In Assam, they live in Karbi Anglong, NC Hills (now Dima Hasao), Kachar and other parts. Kuki tribes continue to harbor certain nostalgia for inherited traditional governance chieftainship is considered in alienable for the 22 tribes that constitute Kukis. In Mizoram the system was abolished by the Assam-Lushai District (Acquisition of Chief’s Right) Act-1954. Tripura had replaced it with the Panchayat system functioning under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council. Chieftainship has been functioning among the kuki despite the introduction of the representative system in Manipur. The two systems are considered to be in opposition to each other. The co-existence however had an impact on certain aspects of chieftainship.
The Chief is patrichal and feudal. The relationship between him and villagers is symmetrical to feudal relations seen between landlords and tenants. The Kuki chief enjoys enormous powers. He possessed executive, legislative, judicial and military power.  He was the guardian of law and the absolute owner of the village and the land within it. His word was law. He can appoint and dismiss or expel anyone in the village. There was sufficient room for a Kuki chief to become tyrannical but in practice he was governed by the customary laws. He appoints important posts in the village. The decision of his Upas without consulting the chief cannot be taken as final. The chief has right to dismiss any upa if found incapable. Villagers could settle in the village so long as they please the chief. The system is considered anti-ethical to the practice of democracy. In short, villagers have no freedom. Their fate is decided by the chief. At the same time chieftainship is an institution that is considered an inalienable customs practiced by the Kukis tribes since time immemorial. A debate therefore emerges on whether to continue with chieftainship. The debate goes on without any resolution.
Historically in the context of Manipur, the post-independence, Manipur State Constitution Act-1947 was enacted, which did not apply in matter where specific reservation of power were made to any authority in the hill under the Provision of Manipur Hill People ( Administrative) regulation Act-1947 and later the Manipur ( Village Authority in Hill areas) Act 1956, the Manipur Hill Areas( Acquisition of Chieftainship) Act-1967, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act-1960, the Manipur Land Revenue and Reforms ( Amendment) Act 1975. The Regulation of these legislative Acts are direct attempt to end the continuation of the traditional authority within the democratic system, while a democracy constraint is one aspect, the introduction of new administration has changed not only the traditional system but also their relationship with land , forest and natural resources. Therefore there was strong opposition from the Kuki, particularly the chief, which leads to freezing of the government regulations.
Despite the attempts by government to either wish away traditional leadership to actually attack through various reforms measures with a view to abolish if Kuki Chieftainship remained the center of authority in Kuki inhabited areas in India’s North-East and Myanmar. The post-independence dualism of political authority still continued without any major changed in the structure. There are modern state structure on one hand and indigenous political institution of governance in political systems. Debate on chieftainship in modernity focus on the role and place of traditional authority in Indian democracy. How could the chieftainship system co-exist with elected local authorities? How is this relationship mediated, so that the two structures can work in harmony, rather than in competition? These questions have generated intense debate between traditionalist and modernist in both academic and policy circles. The gist of the debate revolved around three positions. One which consider traditional Kuki chieftainship institutions as outdated forms of authority an affront to democratic rule and one that has no alienable role to play under Indian democracy. Such a position believes that they should not be accorded any recognition by the modern state and must be abolished. A pragmatic counter position asserts that these institutions are still relevant and legitimate, particularly in rural areas where the majority of the people reside. Consequently they should not be abolished. The third group believes in both traditional authority and democratic system and that chieftainship system should evolve with democracy to remain relevant. The reality is that among various Kukis tribes this indigenous institution exists.
The institution of the chieftainship in its present form is in a state of decadence and has become obsolete. Today, the institution of the chief functions to fulfill the personal ambitions of the chiefs themselves rather than working towards the collective goals of tribal welfare, development and empowerment. Therefore, the Constitution of India should be reviewed at the earliest and the traditional institution of chieftainship should be restricted to ceremonial purposes and to democratize the Kuki society. A Panchayati Raj institution with at least a two tier system needs to be introduced. All the efforts should be made to promote awareness among the Kuki people on democratic decentralization and people’s participation in development.
(Writer can be reached at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Wednesday, 23 November 2022 17:28

Stubble Burning Solution

Among the major cropping systems in India is rice-wheat. Rice straw management is one of the major concerns of this cropping system. Each year, millions of tonnes of straw are produced from rice and wheat cultivation. Straw from wheat is used to feed cattle. However, rice straw remains a major problem for farmers. Approximately 220 lakh tonnes (22 million tonnes) of straw are generated only from paddy fields in Punjab alone every year, and 90 percent of that is burned in the fields. There is a very short time span between harvesting of rice and sowing of wheat in rice-wheat cropping system. This unfortunately leads to farmers opting for rice crop stubble burning to quickly prepare the field for wheat sowing. For farmers, stubble burning practice is the easiest way to manage rice residue. However, stubble burning has enormous environment degrading consequences.
Stubble burning involves setting fire to crop residue to remove it from the field for sowing the next crop. The method is used in areas where the ‘combine harvesting method’ is used. A combine harvester is a machine that harvests, threshes (meaning separates the grain), and also cleans the grains. However while using this machine; the machine does not cut close enough to the ground, leaving behind stubble that is useless to farmers. It is important for farmers to plant the next crop in time for it to yield a full yield and also maximum profit. Hence, burning the stubble is the fastest and cheapest way to clear the field according to the farmers. Although farmers are discouraged by the government from burning stubble, they still prefer it because it is cheap and less time consuming. Due to a lack of financial and technological resources, it is not feasible for farmers to consider alternatives to stubble burning, such as plowing it or investing it for other purposes. The uprooting, cutting, burying, and watering of the stubble takes almost two days. Once the stubble is turned, it takes almost 45 days for it to turn into manure. Planting the next crop at the right time (mostly November-end) is critical. Furthermore, this process costs farmers Rs 500-700 per acre per day while setting fire to the stubble hardly costs them anything. In dairy farms, the majority of cereal and forage crop residue is used as cattle feed. However, rice straw is not preferred as cattle feed in northern regions due to its high silica, lingo-cellulose, and limited protein content (2-7%), which prevents it from being taken to the dairy. Despite this, basmati rice feed is sometimes preferred by cattle due to its high palatability.
Among the potential greenhouse gases produced by burning crop residues are methane, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and other hydrocarbons, which are chemically and radioactively dangerous. This causes damage to the ozone and environmental pollution. It is estimated that rice straw burning releases carbon(C) as CO2 (70%), CO (7%) and CH4 (0.66%) while nitrogen (N) is released as N2O (2.09%).Furthermore, burning agriculture waste also emits a great deal of particulate matter, which contains a large number of organic and inorganic organisms. Biomass smoke contains a variety of known or suspected carcinogens that can cause lung diseases when they are inhaled in large quantities. Pollutants, after being released into the atmosphere, disperse in the surrounding areas, undergo physical and chemical transformations, and eventually adversely affect human health. Human well-being is directly impacted by stubble burning. The reason for this is that all the toxic gases and heavy metals released by residue burning act as slow poisons in the human body. Studies have found that air pollution increases the risk of health problems in pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and people with a history of illnesses. The exposure of humans to these potentially hazardous gases has been associated with a wide range of respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, skin and optical diseases. The loss of soil nutrients occurs as a result of straw burning. In general, burning of one ton of rice straw will result in losses of 400 kilograms of organic carbon, 5.5 kilograms of nitrogen, 2.3 kilograms of phosphorus, 25 kilograms of potash, and 1.2 kilograms of sulfur. In addition, the heat generated by paddy straw burning kills useful microbes in the soil. Thus, burning straw negatively affects soil fertility and health. Burning of stubble in Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana causes a thick blanket of smog that poses not only a serious health risk to the population of Delhi and surrounding areas during winter but also visibility problems. Transport problems are caused by the smoke screen that results after burning. Every day, numerous accidents result in the loss of valuable lives and wealth. The burning of straw destroys trees and plants around fields and along roadsides, thus destroying biodiversity.
It is easy to manage stubbles by incorporating them into the field. Farmers, however, do not prefer in-situ incorporation since the stubble takes time to decompose. There are various ways this may adversely affect wheat productivity, including late wheat sowing and nitrogen immobilization, which results in inadequate nitrogen supply. In combine harvested paddy fields, the Happy seeder is used to sow wheat without removing the straw. It is critical to spread the loose straw uniformly in the field for the happy seeder to work properly. The paddy should be harvested using a combine harvester equipped with the PAU super straw management system (SMS).Paddy Straw Chopper-cum-Spreader is a machine developed by the PAU for chopping and spreading rice straw and stubble in the field. Rotating tillers can be used to mix the chopped straw into the soil after applying a light irrigation. Effective decomposition can substitute for straw burning. Straw decomposition requires cellulose and lignin-degrading microorganisms. By decomposing rice straw, carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients are recycled back into the soil, restoring soil fertility. Microbial processes may occur both under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. However, aerobic pathways are more critical for most soils than anaerobic ones. Feeding animals with rice residues is an option. Electricity can also be generated from rice residue. Biomass is the fuel used in the thermoelectric plants.
Research conducted by the Department of Livestock Production and Management of the College of Veterinary Sciences of Punjab Agricultural University found that paddy straw can be used as bedding material during winter by farmers. This bedding increases the quality and quantity of milk by providing comfort to the animals, udder health, and leg health. Rice straw is also an ideal raw material for making paper and pulp boards. Paper is also produced from paddy straw combined with wheat straw. Paper mills are already using this technology to meet 60 percent of their energy needs. Paddy straw can also be used as growing medium for mushroom cultivation, including Agaricus bisporus, Volvariella volvacea, and Pleurotus spp. The yield of these mushrooms is 300, 120–150, and 600 g per kilogram of paddy straw, respectively. Mushrooms grown on paddy straw are called paddy straw mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea) A variety of agricultural wastes can also be used to prepare the substrate for growing this mushroom, such as dried banana leaves, water hyacinth, oil palm bunch waste, cotton and wood waste. Composting is a traditional method of preparing organic matter enriched with beneficial nutrients. The process of composting is a natural breakdown of organic materials involving microorganisms such as bacteria that break down animal waste, crop residues, vegetable waste, and some municipal waste. When decomposition is complete, it can be used as natural organic fertilizer. In addition to its physical, chemical, and biological properties, this natural fertilizer increases soil fertility. Paddy straw produces almost 3.2 tonnes of nutrient-rich FYM per hectare. Agricultural wastes can be converted into biogas for use as an alternative energy source. The main source of lignocellulose for biogas production is crop residues, such as rice straw. Using rice straw as a mulch in the field has so many benefits. Mulching maintains soil moisture, controls weeds, and stabilizes soil temperature, which promotes healthy plant growth. A model of a paddy straw geyser has been developed by the Punjab University that uses straw bales as fuel for water heating in order to properly utilize rice residue.
In November 2015, the National Green Tribunal ordered Delhi and its neighboring states to cease the practice of stubble burning. However, the order had little effect. The Centre approved a scheme worth Rs 1,151 crore aimed at promoting in-situ crop residue management through the provision of subsidized THS machines. There are currently seven plants in operation with a total capacity of 62.5 megawatts. Small and marginal farmers in Punjab were offered a ‘stubble-burry’ scheme to curb stubble burning with the Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) the District Administration is responsible for providing workers to farmers to dig up the compost pits. Researchers developed perennial rice by hybridizing Asian domesticated annual rice with wild perennial rice from Africa. Taking advantage of modern genetic tools to fast-track the process, the team identified a promising hybrid in 2007, planted large-scale field experiments in 2016, and released the first commercial perennial rice variety, PR23, in 2018. Farmers in China and Uganda have shifted to using long-lived perennial rice that is both high-yielding and cost-effective, and its success has provided us with a good opportunity to ponder the possible benefits of sowing this variety in India and help to solve stubble burning problem since it can be planted once in two years, thus burden of stubble can be reduced.
(Writer can be reached at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Students are the future. These are the people and the minds that are going to take our countries forward. No matter their background or their field of study, we should always celebrate those who want to further their knowledge, with a lot of students going to great lengths to do so.
International Students’ Day is on November 17. It’s a day when we remember the bravery of thousands of students in Prague who fought for national pride and the right to higher education. In 1939, Nazi forces arrested and executed nine protesters without trial and sent over 1,200 students to concentration camps. Many did not survive. International Students’ Day commemorates their sacrifice. And while it seems worlds apart today, the right to education and peaceful protest remains a struggle in many countries. On International Students’ Day, let’s strengthen and resolve to protect the rights of our youth and support them by directing them towards the right resources such as Schoolroom — a platform providing information on scholarship and resources for acquiring education. International Students’ Day is the perfect opportunity for us to pay honor to the students of the world. From all corners of the globe, students are working hard to achieve their career goals and make a difference. Some students leave their families and travel far and wide to have a place in a university that will help them to have a better life and provide for their loved ones. This is something that we should definitely honor and celebrate. While student life is difficult for everyone, there is no denying that international students face a number of challenges. This includes homesickness, cultural differences, currency differences, financial troubles, and language barriers.
For insights into International Students’ Day, let’s first trace the events leading up to it. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, the Third Reich staked aggressive claims over territories outside Germany’s borders. The Nazis first annexed Austria in 1938, Hitler’s home country. Next, they forced Czechoslovakia to give up parts of its territories. Germany occupied the Czech regions, forcing Slovakia to split into a satellite state. In 1939, students of the Medical Faculty at Charles University in Prague held a demonstration to commemorate the formation of an independent Czechoslovak Republic. The Nazis brutally suppressed the gathering, resulting in a student Jan Opletal’s death. Thousands of students turned up at his funeral procession – an event that transformed into an anti-Nazi demonstration. The Nazis responded by shutting down all Czech education institutions. In a shocking display of brute power, they arrested over 1,200 students and sent them to concentration camps. But the worst was yet to come. On November 17, the Nazis rounded up nine protesters, executing them without trial. Historians believe that the Third Reich allowed the funeral procession because they anticipated a violent outcome. It would give the regime the validation they needed to close down all Czech universities, dealing a severe blow to rebellion from academics and student activists. November 17 is International Students’ Day, to remember the courage of student activists during the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague. The first observance took place in 1941 at the International Students’ Council in London. It was there that students decided to introduce International Students’ Day, to be observed every November 17.Since then, many organizations and international student groups have continued to observe the day. The day is a public holiday in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is formally called the “Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day.”
Post-1939, the wave of student unification and protesting against unfair systems and politics was seen in other parts of the world as well. Here are the three stories that perfectly sum up how good habits for students together can flip the geo-political landscape. 
An inspiring aspect of Bangladeshi history is the historic mid-20th century Bangla language movement. Bangla became one of the official languages of the country after the bravery, sacrifices, love for the mother tongue, and devotion to the homeland forced the then-powerful rulers of Pakistan to accede to popular demand. In a nutshell, the Language Movement is a wonderful illustration of the perseverance of people. The movement’s leaders, who included teachers, writers, and majorly students organized millions of young people for 20 years (1952–1971) by walking barefoot in the early hours of February 21st on the streets in the direction of the Shaheed Minar (Martyrs Memorials) in Dhaka (and to the thousands of replicas throughout the country) and the Azimpur graveyard in Dhaka, where the martyrs are buried. Organizing a political movement under the guise of a cultural movement by the students, ostensibly to lament the unjust killing of students and commemorate February 21 as a day of remembrance, was simply a wonderful way to inspire patriotism and a sense of belonging to the Bengali Nation.
A turning point occurred in Burma (now Myanmar) with the 1988 demonstrations and crackdown. Thousands of people were killed by the military and other security forces during the suppression of widespread pro-democracy protests in Burma from March to September 1988.On August 8, 1988, protests for a democratic transition and an end to military rule broke out simultaneously in cities and towns all over Burma as a result of a statewide strike involving thousands of students, monks, and regular civilians. The administration was taken aback by the number and scope of these protests, so it sent forces to violently put an end to them. Armed forces shot at unarmed protestors, killing dozens and injuring many more. With the help of swords, poisoned darts, and sharpened bicycle spokes, some demonstrators retaliated, killing some police officers.8th August, 88 is remembered as a day when students together fought for democratic rights. 
Czechoslovakia brought an end to the nation’s more than 40 years of communist governance. Eastern Europe experienced an uprising against the communist government in 1989. Students in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, assembled for a nonviolent protest on November 16, and the next day, a student march in Prague was sanctioned by the government. The Prague March was meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the police’s savage suppression of a student protest in German-occupied Prague, but as soon as students started to criticize the government, the police reacted violently. The Velvet Revolution was started by this occurrence, which intensified across the nation’s industrial hubs. Negotiations with the opposition were pushed upon the communist government. Gustáv Husák resigned on December 10 and a transitional administration made up of members of the Civic Forum and Public against Violence was established.
The international students’ day date is the same around the globe- 17th November. This day is observed by numerous universities all over the world as a chance to highlight diversity and multiculturalism. On International Students Day, some universities host a number of activities to promote young involvement. On International Student Day, a number of student organizations in addition to colleges host numerous events. Other than performing a single act of social service, students can show their support by taking part in other activities. They can even use social media to provide information about the significance of International Student Day. Every year, International Students Day is observed with the goal of promoting the importance of education and its access for all students. The purpose of the day is to guarantee that every student has access to education worldwide. Because of the events that occurred in Prague during World War II, November 17 has been designated as International Students Day.
International Students’ Day is a celebration of multiculturalism, diversity and cooperation among students across the globe. Though originally a day of commemoration of the more than 1,200 students from the University of Prague whose lives were taken in WWII, International Students’ Day has become an occasion for universities the world over to boast their masses of international students, and the good they do for the local community. Students display and celebrate their acts of social responsibility and have gatherings on campus to showcase the causes they volunteer for, take part in gleeful competitions, indulge in student food, gossip about the student unions and complain about their student fees. Although decidedly not as elevated or as relevant to mankind as the activities of the forefathers of International Students’ Day, these gatherings attract a good deal of involvement, donations and attention for organizations and charities.
(Writer can be reaches at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Thursday, 10 November 2022 17:10

SC’s order on the EWS 10% quota

The Central Government of India recently introduced EWS Reservation. 10% quota is provided for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among General Category candidates in government jobs and educational institutions. And the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitution amendment providing 10 percent reservation to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) who sought admission to higher educational institutions and government jobs. Three out of five judges, who heard the petitions challenging the EWS reservation, upheld the EWS quota. The judgment was pronounced by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice U U Lalit. The other judges were Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi and J B Pardiwala. While Justice Bella, Justice Pardiwala and Justice Maheswari passed the order in favour of the EWS quota, Justice Bhat and CJI U U Lalit dissented from it stating that the quota was discriminatory.
The EWS quota provides a 10 percent reservation to the economically weaker sections in higher educational institutions and government jobs. It does not include those under the Other Backward Class (OBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).This means that it applies mainly to the upper caste or loosely said, the general category, who are financially weak. The EWS quota was recommended by a commission headed by Major General (retd) S R Sinho. The commission was formed in March 2005 when the UPA headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in power. The report was submitted in 2010.
These are the requirements to apply for the EWS quota:
1. You should be a ‘general’ candidate (not covered under reservation for SC, ST or OBC).
2. Your family’s gross annual income should be below Rs. 8 lakhs. This includes income from all sources such as agriculture, salary, business, etc. for the financial year before you apply for the exam.
3. Your family should not own agricultural land of size 5 acres or more.
4. Your family should not own a residential flat of area 1000 square feet or more.
5. Your family should not own a residential plot (in notified municipalities) of an area of 100 square yards or more.
6. Your family should not own a residential plot (other than in notified municipalities) of an area of 200 square yards or more.
In 1992, the Supreme Court of India in Indra Swahey v Union of India upheld the Union Government’s order that caste is an indicator of backwardness. That is, the caste system has played a significant role in discriminating against various sections of society for many years. Thus the recommendation of 50% reservations for backward classes such as Dalits in central government services was finally implemented in 1992.The EWS judgment delivered on Monday however dilutes the Indra Swahey judgment. Justice Maheshwari argued that the EWS quota does not affect the 50% reservation owing to its flexibility.  
However, Justice Bhat who opposed the EWS quota said that it will result in compartmentalization, and the rule of the right to equality will translate into a right to reservations. It should be noted that state governments have time and again attempted to provide reservations to a ‘specific class’ (even those unaffected by caste hierarchy). This was however not entertained, thanks to the Indra Sawhney Judgement.
Justice Dinesh Maheshwari who delivered the order maintained that the EWS quota did not violate the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. “Reservation in addition to an existing reservation does not violate provisions of the Constitution,” he said. Concurring with Justice Maheshwari, Justice Bella Trivedi said the quota cannot be termed as discriminatory if the state can justify it. “Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) form separate categories. They can’t be treated at par with the unreserved categories. The benefit under EWS can’t be said to be discriminatory,” Justice Bella said. Echoing the two, Justice Pardiwala said reservation is not an end but a means to secure social justice. “The idea of Dr Ambedkar was to bring reservation for 10 years but it has continued. Reservation shouldn’t be allowed to become a vested interest,” he said.
Justice Ravindra Bhat said that the country’s majoritarian population comes under economically weaker sections belonging to SCs and OBCs. Their exclusion discriminates equality code and violates basic structure, he said. “Reservation is contrary to the essence of equal opportunity. The 103rd amendment practices prohibited forms of discrimination,” he said. He further observed that reservations were created to uproot thousands of years of wrongs on communities and castes “Reservations designed as a powerful tool to enable equal access. Introduction of economic criteria and excluding other backward classes, SC, ST, OBC, saying they had these pre-existing benefits is injustice,” he stated.CJI UU Lalit concurred with Justice Bhat and struck down Articles 15(6) and 16(6), calling them a violation of the equality code.
It is pertinent to note that the EWS quota is over and above the existing 50% reservation to SCs, STs, and Other Backward Classes (OBCs). While the petitioners argued that economic criteria cannot be the basis for classification, the then Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta vehemently defended the amendment. The CJI and Justice Bhat dissented with the majority view of Justices Maheshwari, Trivedi and Pardiwala. To begin with, Justice Maheshwari held that the Constitution Amendment cannot be said to breach the basic structure by providing reservation on economic criteria.
Referring to the 1992 Indra Sawhney vs. Union of India case, Justice Bhat added, “Permitting breach of 50 percent rule becomes a great way for further infractions which would result in compartmentalisation and then rule of the reservation will become right to equality and take us back to Champakam Dorairajan since equality was to be a temporary aspect”. The SC verdict in this case capped reservations at 50%. As CJI UU Lalit concurred with Justice Bhat’s views, the EWS quota was upheld by a 3:2 majority.
Are you thinking that the 10% Reservation for EWS won’t affect you? You are probably wrong. Irrespective of your category – General, OBC, SC, or ST – the new quota act (unless struck down by the Supreme Court of India), will change the seats-share accessible to you. Yes, that’s how reservation + merit work in India! The government had said that the reservation of EWS of general category will be given without tampering the existing reservation quotas for SC, ST and OBCs people. Well, that’s only half of the story. Even if your reservation quota is untouched, the merit quota can shrink! Obviously, it will. This is because the new reservation for EWS is carved out from the existing merit quota. If you belong to general merit, you can compete only in 40.50% seats as 59.50 seats are reserved. If you are an ST, you can compete in 48% seats (7.5% reservation quota seats+ 40.5% merit seats).On the same lines, SC category candidates can compete in 55.5% seats (15% reservation quota seats+ 40.5% merit seats) while OBC category candidates can target 67.5% seats (27 % reservation quota seats+ 40.5% merit seats). Anybody who does not fall under EWS criteria (SC, ST, OBC, or General) will now have 10% fewer jobs to target. If you were from SC category, earlier you had access to 65.50% seats, but now it is only 55.50%.The pool of ST shrank from 58% to 48%.And most importantly, the merit quota decreased from 50.50% earlier to 40.50%.
(Writer can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.