Home >News >India >SC observes sub classification of SC/ST not unconstitutional
A Supreme Court judgement in 2005 had held that it was unconstitutional for state legislatures to create sub categories of SCs and STs (Mint)
A Supreme Court judgement in 2005 had held that it was unconstitutional for state legislatures to create sub categories of SCs and STs (Mint)

SC observes sub classification of SC/ST not unconstitutional

  • The constitution bench observed that since state governments have powers to make reservations, they also have the powers to make further sub-classifications in the reservation list

A five-judge constitution bench of Supreme Court on Thursday observed that there can be sub classifications within scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) for granting them reservation; it disagreed with another Supreme Court verdict on the subject delivered in 2005.

The court held that since the 2005 decision was also of five –judge bench, “We cannot revisit E.V. Chinnaiah being Bench of coordinate strength. We request the Hon’ble Chief Justice to place the matters before a Bench comprising of 7 Judges or more as considered appropriate."

The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra opined that since state governments have powers to make reservations, they also have the powers to make further sub-classifications in the reservation list.

Justice Mishra, while reading the operative part of the judgment, said, “In a federal structure, the state government cannot be denied the power to make laws to give preferential treatment to sub-categories within the reservation list."

But the Supreme Court had in its judgement delivered in the EV Chinnaiah v the State of Andhra Pradesh case of 2005, held that it was unconstitutional for state legislatures to create sub categories of SCs and STs.

In the present case, the bench, also comprising Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, had reserved its verdict on 17 August on the question whether the 2005 judgement needs to be revisited and on the constitutional validity of the laws made by the state legislatures for creating sub categories.

Thursday's judgement was passed on a batch of appeals against a Punjab and Haryana High court verdict which, while holding the provision to be unconstitutional, had struck down section 4(5) of the Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act of 2006.

This section of the law had created a preference in favour of Balmiki and Mazhbi Sikhs from the 50% quota already reserved for the SC communities in case of direct recruitments.

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