(Image source from: dnaindia.com)
Supreme Court judges observed that state governments have the authority to make reservations and also subclassify them.
Yes, this is the question of a 5 judge bench to a larger bench of 7 judges of the Supreme Court. It is an important decision that can fuel the state governments to make sub classifications between the already prescribed reservations of a state.
The sub classifications here refer to the reservation quota among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the 2004 decision of the 2004 bench of E V Chinnaiah vs the state of Andhra Pradesh must be revisited before coming to a conclusive decision in this matter and taking it forward to the Chief Justice.
The constitutional bench comprising 5 judges of the Supreme Court observed that in the Indian federal structure the state governments have the power to make reservations according to their demographic calculations and they can also sub classify them.
Tinkering would not affect the beneficiary list of any state.
Justice Arun Mishra of the Supreme Court noted that the state governments cannot be denied the power to make the laws to give preferential treatment to the sub categories within the reservations list of the state.
The bench of judges also expressed their view that EV Chinniah did not properly apply the decision of Indira Sawhney.
The amendment to Article 342 A of the constitution has also been not taken into account by EV Chinniah.
The observation was made while delivering the decision in the Punjab vs Davinder Singh case and some other connected cases by a bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Indira Banerjee, Justice Vineet Saran, Justice M R Shah, and Justice Aniruddha Bose.
Punjab and Haryana government in the judgement had stuck down the section 4(5) of the Punjab Scheduled castes and the Backward Classes , reservation in services act, 2006.
This act offered 50 percent vacancies of the quota reserved to the scheduled castes in direct recruitment to Balmikis and Mazhbi Sikhs as a first preference from among the scheduled castes, only if available.
Relying on the E V Chinniah vs State of Andhra Pradesh judgment, the Punjab and Haryana court has termed this provision as unconstitutional.
The Punjab and Haryana high court held that all the castes in presidential order under Article 341 (I) of the Indian constitution, one class of a homogenous group cannot be further classified into another.
The court also observed that any violation of this rule would be against Article 14 of the Indian constitution.
The three-judge bench of the SupremeCourt had referred the matter to the 5 judge bench that the submission of E V Chinniah is not in accord with the nine-judge bench judgement in the Indira Sawhney vs the Union of India.
By Gayatri Yellayi