Only President Can Elect Backward Classes, Says SC, Supports Amendment 102 | India News
NEW DELHI: In an important decision that could have broader ramifications, the Supreme Court by majority on Wednesday declared that only the president (read the Center) can make decisions on the declaration of socially and educationally backward communities to grant reservations and confirmed the 102nd constitutional amendment. strip the power of the states in this regard.
A constitutional bench of five judges of Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta, and S Ravindra Bhat were unanimous on the validity of the 102nd constitutional amendment, but differed in their involvement to recognize socially and educationally backward classes (ESCB).
The majority, made up of justices Rao, Gupta and Bhat, concluded that the amendment has taken away the power of the states to decide on the appointment of ESCB and now only the president can make a decision. However, Judges Bhushan and Nazeer held that states can also identify ESCBs and that there would be two lists, central and state lists, of backward communities, as has been the practice for the past 68 years.
State governments have been expanding the list of ESCB, the official jargon for “CBO status,” which entitles the host community to quota benefits, and the verdict means that states will now limit themselves to making recommendations to the Center. in favor of the “aspirants”. backward.
The Center’s response to the verdict could be interesting. He had said that the power to identify ESCBs rests with Parliament only with reference to the central list and states can have separate lists.
But most of the bench felt the opposite. “By introducing Articles 366 (26C) and 342A through the 102nd amendment, only the President, excluding all other authorities, is empowered to identify ESCBs and include them in a list to be published pursuant to Article 342A ( 1), which shall be deemed to include ESCBs in relation to each state and territory of the Union for the purposes of the Constitution. States can, through their existing mechanisms, or even statutory commissions, only make suggestions to the President or Commission under Article 338B, for the inclusion, exclusion or modification of castes or communities, ”Judge Bhat said.
The 102nd amendment was introduced to give constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes and articles 366 (26C) and 342-A were introduced according to which the president can notify a class as ESCB.
Judge Bhat said that under the amendment, there will only be one list and “it can only be amended by a law enacted by Parliament.”
Judge Bhushan, however, said that the backward classes were all of this while being identified by the respective state governments that provided reservations under Articles 15 (4) and 16 (4) and the same should continue.
“The Indra Sawhney Constitutional Court held that each state government is fully competent to identify the backward classes and that is why the Sawhney (verdict) ordered the appointment of a permanent body, both by the Union and by the state, and consequently commissions were set up – the National Commission for Backward Classes and the State Commission for Backward Classes. To reverse the whole scheme, a clear and explicit constitutional amendment was necessary. There is no express indication in the 102nd constitutional amendment that the power of the state is being taken away, ”he said.