New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on the question whether a sub-classification is permissible within the scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) for providing benefits of affirmative action.
A 7-judge Constitution Bench headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing a reference arising out of the 2004 judgment in E.V. Chinnaiah vs State of Andhra Pradesh case, which held that the members of the SCs and STs form homogeneous groups incapable of further regrouping or classification.
The bench, also comprising Justices B.R. Gavai, Vikram Nath, Bela M. Trivedi, Pankaj Mithal, Manoj Misra, and Satish Chandra Sharma, was also dealing with an appeal filed by the Punjab government against the ruling of Punjab and Haryana High Court quashing the 2006 Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act providing ‘first preference’ to Balmikis and Mazbhi Sikh castes under SC quota.
In 2020, a 5-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra (now retired) opined that E.V. Chinnaiah ruling is required to be revisited by a larger Bench saying that the benefit of reservation is not percolating down to the neediest and poorest of the poor.
The 2004 Chinnaiah judgement had said that to re-group the scheduled castes specified in Presidential Notification issued under Article 341 of the Constitution would tantamount to discrimination in reverse and would attract the wrath of Article 14 of the Constitution.