Seven-judge Bench to revisit 2004 verdict on SC sub-caste quota

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 27

Can the state give reservations to sub-castes inside the Scheduled Castes? The problem will likely be determined by a seven-judge Constitution Bench after a five-judge Constitution Bench on Thursday delivered a verdict opposite to an earlier one by a Bench of the identical power.

The five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, dominated that provision may be made for reservation for the sub-castes inside Scheduled Castes, saying, “The entire basket of fruits cannot be given to mighty at the cost of others under the guise of forming a homogeneous class.”

“There are un-equals within the list of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and socially and educationally backward classes. Various reports indicate that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes do not constitute a homogenous group. The aspiration of equal treatment of the lowest strata, to whom the fruits of the reservation have not effectively reached, remains a dream. At the same time, various castes by and large remain where they were, and they remain un-equals. Are they destined to carry their backwardness till eternity?” the Bench requested.

“The constitutional goal of social transformation cannot be achieved without taking into account changing social realities,” it stated.

It disagreed with an earlier Constitution Bench judgment delivered in 2004, which had dominated towards giving preferential remedy to sub-castes inside Scheduled Castes.

“Once the state has the facility to present reservations, it might probably additionally make sub-classification to increase profit to these sub-castes not receiving the profit,” the highest court docket stated in its newest verdict.

The verdict got here in a case arising out of an enchantment filed by Punjab Government difficult a 2010 verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court placing down Section 4(5) of the Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act, 2006.

The provision offered for ‘first preference’ to the Balmikis and Mazbhi Sikhs for SC quota in public employment.

Help for needy

  • Five-judge Bench delivered a verdict opposite to an earlier one by a same-strength Bench
  • The SC stated there are unequals inside the record of SCs, STs and backward courses
  • Entire basket of fruits can’t be given to the mighty at the price of the needy, it stated

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