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'Can't Conduct Survey To Ascertain EWS Eligible For 10% Reservation': State Submits, Kerala HC Disposes Plea

Hannah M Varghese
31 March 2022 8:56 AM GMT
Cant Conduct Survey To Ascertain EWS Eligible For 10% Reservation: State Submits, Kerala HC Disposes Plea
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The State cited its financial crisis and the pandemic situation for its inability to implement the survey.

The Kerala High Court disposed of the plea filed by Nair Service Society seeking the implementation of the comprehensive survey suggested by the Justice AV Ramakrishna Pilla Commission to ascertain the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the State who are eligible for 10% reservation as per the 103rd Constitutional amendment. The plea had also challenged the new sample survey suggested by...

The Kerala High Court disposed of the plea filed by Nair Service Society seeking the implementation of the comprehensive survey suggested by the Justice AV Ramakrishna Pilla Commission to ascertain the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the State who are eligible for 10% reservation as per the 103rd Constitutional amendment.

The plea had also challenged the new sample survey suggested by the present Commission to ascertain backward communities.

Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan disposed of the petition after the State submitted that owing to its financial state and the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, it was not in a position to implement the said recommendation for a comprehensive survey. 

"When the Government says that because of the financial situation, recommendation of a Commission cannot be accepted, this Court is not in a position to pass any orders, invoking the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India."

However, the Court noted that if the petitioner was aggrieved by the State's stand, the same may be challenged separately in accordance with law. 

"But I make it clear that, the petitioner is also free to approach the Government, after some times, if there is any change of circumstances, with a request to implement the recommendation in clause 2(m) of Ext.P3 report, and in such situation, the Government will do the needful, in accordance to law."

The Court had earlier directed the State to inform the status of the comprehensive survey suggested by the Pilla Commission. The State had then submitted that since the legislative assembly was in session, the Government could not able to take a decision till it was concluded. 

Later, it decided that taking into account the financial condition and the pandemic situation in the State, it was not feasible to conduct the comprehensive survey as urged by the petitioner. 

Advocate R.T. Pradeep appeared for the petitioner and vehemently argued that this survey would detrimentally affect the members of the Nair Community.

The plea alleged that members of the Nair community have been suffering serious financial setbacks for several years but were not eligible for reservation till the 103rd Constitutional Amendment.

As per the Amendment, the Kerala State Commission for Economic Backward Class among Forward Communities chaired by Justice A.V. Ramakrishna Pilla in 2019 proposed to conduct a comprehensive Socio-Economic-Communal survey to collect statistics of the social and economical status of all communities in the State.

However, the Commission now in office have planned to conduct a random sample survey to ascertain backwardness among forward communities by collecting details through a mobile application from five economically backward families of each ward of local bodies.

NSS opposed the sample survey alleging that it will bring out only a truncated and sketchy picture of economically weaker sections of forward communities.

The petitioner had preferred a representation before the Commission regarding the same. Responding to this, the Commission had categorically endorsed all the objections to the sample survey and called it an interim measure.

It was thus argued that the Commission itself was of the view that the sample survey will not serve the implementation of the recommendation made by the erstwhile Commission.

The Commission now in office allegedly responded to this by categorically endorsing all the objections to the sample survey. It was stated that in the wake of no decision being taken by the government, the Commission recommended a sample survey as an interim measure to suggest welfare measures. The tenure of the present Commission expired on 13.3.2022.

Based on this response, the petitioner had argued that it is crystal clear that Commission itself is of the view that the sample survey will not serve the implementation of the recommendation made by the erstwhile Commission.

"The Commission just wanted to conduct a hurry berry futile survey for making recommendations before the expiry of its term. The legal implications and ramifications of collecting stale data in contravention to clause 2(m) cannot be fathomed by the respondents."

On these grounds, the petitioner had challenged the sample survey proposed to be conducted by the Commission. However, the plea was disposed recording the State's submission. 

Case Title: Nair Service Society v. State of Kerala & Ors

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 154

Click Here To Read/Download The Order 

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