The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will deliver its judgment on the issue whether it should revisit the decision in E.V. Chinnaiah Vs. State of A. P. (2005) 1 SCC 394 in which it was held that sub classification or sub division of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe by State Legislatures is unconstitutional.
The five judge bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, MR Shah, Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose will be delivering the judgment at 10.30 am tomorrow through video conferencing.
The batch of appeals arise from a Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment which struck down Section 4(5) of the Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act, 2006 provides that fifty per cent of the vacancies of the quota reserved for Scheduled Castes in direct recruitment, shall be offered to Balmikis and Mazhbi Sikhs, if available, as a first preference from amongst the Scheduled Castes. While holding this provision as unconstitutional, the Punjab and Haryana High Court relied on E.V.Chinnaiah v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2005) 1 SCC 394, wherein it was held that all the castes in the Presidential Order under Article 341(1) of the Constitution formed one class of homogeneous group and the same could not be further sub divided. It was further held therein that any such legislation with reference to Entry 41 of List II or Entry 25 of List III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution would be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
A three judge bench of the Supreme Court, taking note of the submission of the E.V. Chinnaiah is not in accord with the 9-Judge Bench judgment in Indra Sawhney Vs. Union of India had referred the matter to to the Constitution Bench. We are of the view that E.V. Chinnaiah needs to be revisited in the light of Article 338 of the Constitution of India and and, inter alia, exposit of law in Indra Sawhney, the bench comprising Justices RM Lodha, Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman had said in 2014.
Earlier this year, the Constitution bench had heard the parties on the following issues:
- Whether the provisions contained under Section 4(5) of The Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act, 2006 are constitutionally valid?
- Whether the State had the legislative competence to enact the provisions contained under Section 4(5) of the Act?
- Whether the decision in E.V. Chinnaiah Vs. State of A. P. & Ors. reported in (2005) 1 SCC 394 is required to be revisited?
The cases were reserved for judgment on 17th August 2020.