Contents of Volume 19(1)
Janhit Abhiyan: Where does it lead us?
In Janhit Abhiyan v. Union of India (2022), the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 that introduced reservations for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society. First, this Comment deviates from the existing criticisms of the judgment to argue that the judgment may pave way for expanding the scope of discrimination law by laying the groundwork for recognising ‘poverty’ or ‘socio-economic disadvantage’ or ‘economic class’ as a protected marker of discrimination. Second, it argues that the diverging opinions of Justice Pardiwala and Justice Bhat on the interpretation of Article 15(1) require clarification and raise questions on the desirability of applying the reasonable classification test to Article 15(1). Third, the Comment argues that the decision in Janhit Abhiyan conflicts with a previous Constitution Bench judgment in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India on whether the 50% ceiling on reservations is essential to the equal opportunity clause. This Comment thus anticipates the wider implications of the judgment on the evolution of discrimination law in general, and the constitutional doctrine on equality law in India, in particular.