SUB-CASTES CAN BE GIVEN PREFERENTIAL RESERVATION IN STATE LEGISLATURES: SC DO NOT GO ALONG WITH EV CHINNAIAH, MATTER TO BE REFERRED TO LARGER BENCH

The Apex Court today stated that state legislatures could make laws to give preferential reservations to sub-castes. The decision was delivered by a Constitutional Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah, and Krishna Murari. Through the judgment, the Court has diverged from another Constitutional Bench judgment that held the contrary.

The question before the Bench was whether the SC’s 2004 judgment in EV Chinnaiah v. the State of Andhra Pradesh shall be revised or not. In that judgment, the Court had decided it to be unconstitutional for state legislatures to grant a further sub-categorization of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).

While delivering the judgment, Justice Mishra stated that once the state is allowed to give reservations, it can also make sub-classification to expand the benefits to other sub-castes not receiving the advantage. The matter has now been placed before the Chief Justice for establishing a larger bench for deciding the question.

The question was presented before the Supreme Court in a batch of appeals against the decision of the Punjab & Haryana High Court which struck down Section 4(5) of the Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act of 2006.

However, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in 2014 referred the decision laid down in EV Chainnaiah to a larger Bench for consideration in light of Article 338 and the law laid down in the Indra Sawhney judgment.

Reported By : Komal Sabhnani

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