February 18, 2024
SC Contemplates State Authority in Sub-Classification of Sc/St for Reservations
Courts & Law

SC Contemplates State Authority in Sub-Classification of Sc/St for Reservations

SC Contemplates State Authority in Sub-Classification of Sc/St for Reservations.image/daily excelsior

SC Contemplates State Authority in Sub-Classification of Sc/St for Reservations

On Thursday, the Supreme Court reserved its decision regarding the legal query on whether a state government possesses the authority to create a sub-classification within scheduled castes and scheduled tribes for the allocation of reservations in educational admissions and public employment.

A constitution bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and consisting of seven judges, including justices BR Gavai, Vikram Nath, Bela M Trivedi, Pankaj Mithal, Manoj Misra, and Satish Chandra Mishra, listened to arguments presented by Attorney General R Venkataramani, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, and representatives from various states. The discussions focused on reviewing the E V Chinnaiah judgment from 2004, which asserted that all scheduled caste communities, having endured centuries of ostracization, discrimination, and humiliation, form a unified class incapable of being sub-categorized.

The bench is currently examining 23 petitions, with the primary one filed by the Punjab government challenging the 2010 decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Supreme Court is revisiting a 2004 judgment by a five-judge constitution bench in the case of EV Chinnaiah vs. State of Andhra Pradesh. This earlier ruling declared that scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are homogeneous groups, and therefore, states are not permitted to further sub-classify them to allocate quotas within quotas for more marginalized and vulnerable castes within these groups.

The Chinnaiah judgment emphasized that any sub-classification of the Scheduled Castes would contravene Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution. The 2004 verdict also clarified that only the Parliament, not state legislatures, holds the authority to exclude castes identified as scheduled castes from the Presidential List under Article 341 of the Constitution.

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