1 April 2022 3:19 AM GMT
The Supreme Court, in its judgment Vanniyar Quota Case, observed that sub-classification amongst backward classes is permissible."It is crystal clear from the Indra Sawhney judgment that backward classes can be sub-classified... No doubt can be entertained about the permissibility of sub-classification amongst backward classes", the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B R...
The Supreme Court, in its judgment Vanniyar Quota Case, observed that sub-classification amongst backward classes is permissible.
"It is crystal clear from the Indra Sawhney judgment that backward classes can be sub-classified... No doubt can be entertained about the permissibility of sub-classification amongst backward classes", the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai observed.
Relying on the judgment in E.V. Chinnaiah v. State of A.P (2005) 1 SCC 394, the Madras High Court had held that all castes including the sub-castes, races, tribes mentioned in the list are to be members of one group for the purpose of the Constitution and cannot be further sub-divided so as to give more preference to a miniscule portion thereof. It was further held that all the castes included in the Schedule under Article 341 of the Constitution would be 'deemed to be' one class of persons.
The appellants contended that the High Court committed an error in relying upon E.V. Chinnaiah (supra), which pertained to the interpretation of Articles 341 and 342, to come to the conclusion that classification is not permissible even in respect of backward classes. It was contended that it is clear from Indra Sawhney v. Union of India 1992 Supp (3) SCC 217 that sub-classification of backward classes is permissible. On the other hand, the respondents contended that backward classes can be subdivided into backward and more backward classes in accordance with Indra Sawhney (supra), but further differentiation of MBCs is not permissible as it would amount to micro-classification, as correctly held by the High Court.
Referring to EV Chinnaiah (supra) and Indra Sawhney (supra) judgments, the court observed:
"A close scrutiny of E.V. Chinnaiah (supra) would make it clear that the High Court was wrong in relying upon the said judgment to hold that sub-classification of backward classes is beyond the legislative competence of the State. E.V. Chinnaiah (supra) primarily relates to the power of the State legislature in categorising the Scheduled Castes identified under Article 341 into four groups, the effect of which was held to be modification of the Presidential list, which Article 341 precluded the States from doing. As was clearly expressed by this Court in E.V. Chinnaiah (supra), the issue of sub-classification of backward classes was dealt with in Indra Sawhney (supra)
..It is crystal clear from the judgment of Indra Sawhney (supra) that backward classes can be sub-classified. Whether the subclassification under the 2021 Act is reasonable will be addressed subsequently but no doubt can be entertained about the permissibility of sub-classification amongst backward classes".
The Court however struck down the internal reservation for Vanniyars in MBCs on the ground that it was not supported by any data.
Pattali Makkal Katchi Vs A. Mayilerumperumal | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 333 | CA 2600 of 2022 | 31 March 2022
Coram: Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai
Summary: Tamil Nadu Special Reservation of seats in Educational Institutions including Private Educational Institutions and of appointments or posts in the services under the State within the Reservation for the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities Act, 2021 declared unconstitutional - Upheld the Madras High Court judgment holding that there is no substantial basis for classifying the Vanniakula Kshatriyas into one group to be treated differentially from the remaining 115 communities within the MBCs and DNCs, and therefore, the 2021 Act is in violation of Articles 14, 15 and 16 (Para 74)- There is no bar on the legislative competence of the State to enact the 2021 Act (Para 71) - The High Court has committed an error in holding that the 2021 Act is violative of Article 342-A (Para 31) - Permissibility of sub-classification amongst backward classes as has been done in the 2021 Act cannot be contested. Reasonableness of sub-classification is a separate question (Para 33) - The conclusion of the High Court that determining the extent of reservation amongst the 'Backward Classes of citizens' can be done only by amending the 1994 Act in view of Article 31-B is unsustainable - State Legislature did not lack competence to enact a legislation for determining the extent of reservation amongst the MBCs and DNCs (Para 46) - The State's competence to enact the 2021 Act with the Governor's assent cannot be faulted with nor can the State be compelled by the courts to reserve the 2021 Act for assent of the President (Para 51).
Constitution of India, 1950 ; Article 14,15,16 - While caste can be the starting point for providing internal reservation, it is incumbent on the State Government to justify the reasonableness of the decision and demonstrate that caste is not the sole basis. (Para 54)
Constitution of India, 1950 ; Article 31B - Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of seats in Educational Institutions and of appointments or posts in the Services under the State) Act, 1993 - Placing of the 1994 Act under the Ninth Schedule cannot operate as a hurdle for the State to enact legislations on matters ancillary to the 1994 Act. Legislative competence of the State Legislature can only be circumscribed by express prohibition contained in the Constitution itself and Article 31-B does not stipulate any such express prohibition on the legislative powers of the State. (Para 44)
Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018 - What the 102nd Amendment prohibits the State from undertaking is identifying a caste as SEBC or including or excluding a community from the list notified by the President - Determining the extent of reservation for a community amongst the list of Most Backward Classes does not amount to identification.(Para 31)
Constitution (105th Amendment) Act, 2021 - The 105th Amendment Act cannot be said to be a validating amendment- Prospective in operation - Identifying certain communities which are to be deemed as SEBCs for the purposes of the Central Government and the States, respectively, cannot be said to be a matter of procedure. The procedural aspect of the 102nd Amendment Act and the 105th Amendment Act is only the manner of publication of the lists of SEBCs, whereas the substantive element of the said amendments is identifying and recognising certain communities as SEBCs. (Para 29)
Constitution of India, 1950 ; Article 31 B - No express prohibition stems from Article 31-B on the powers of the State Legislature to legislate on matters incidental to statutes placed within the Ninth Schedule - State has the power to amend or repeal a statute which has been placed under the Ninth Schedule - Any amendment made to a statute placed under the Ninth Schedule does not get protection under Article 31-B, unless the said amendment is also included in the Ninth Schedule. (Para 44)
Constitution of India, 1950 ; Article 14,15,16 - Differentia which is the basis of classification must be sound and must have reasonable relation to the object of the legislation. If the object itself is discriminatory, then explanation that classification is reasonable having rational relation to the object sought to be achieved is immaterial. (Para 71-72)
Constitution of India, 1950 ; Article 338 B - The requirement of consultation with an expert constitutional body is indeed mandatory and it would be fatal to disregard the provision - Article 338- B(9) does not stop the State from enacting a legislation in furtherance of a major policy matter but states that the State Government shall consult the Commission on such matters - The consequence of disregarding a mandatory consultation provision would normally render the legislation void as it is in breach of an obligatory requirement to consult an expert constitutional body. (Para 75-76)
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