‘SC direction contrary to federal structure’

H.N. Nagmohan Das  

The Supreme Court’s direction on capping reservation to 50% has left several questions unanswered, and the judgment may require review, legal experts point out.

On the order giving the Centre the power to decide on the list of backward classes, Karnataka High Court judge justice H.N. Nagmohan Das (retd) said: “There are 4,635 castes/sub castes in the country according to the Anthropological Survey of India. Is it possible for the country to have a single uniform list? Some castes found in one State may not be elsewhere. This is also contrary to the federal structure to snatch away the power of the State with respect to the OBC list.”

Former chairman of Karnataka Backward Classes Commission C.S. Dwarkanath also concurred with justice Das, and asked how the Centre could conduct ethnological studies. “There are State-specific castes and there is already so much confusion,” he said.

Mr. Das pointed to the confusion over “exceptional circumstances”. The Supreme Court in its 1992 verdict of nine-judge bench in the Indra Sahwney case spoke about breaching the 50% capping under exceptional circumstances. “Till today, including Wednesday’s ruling, none of the judgments have laid guidelines or defined the exceptional circumstances,” Mr. Das said.

Mr. Dwarkanath said that when over 300 petitions pertaining to 10% reservation for economically weaker sections among the upper classes are still pending before the court, such a decision to cap reservation quota causes confusion. “There is no clarity on whether 10% reservation will be within the existing quota or whether the quota be enhanced,” he said.

Mr. Das and Mr. Dwarkanath felt there is a need for the judgment to be reviewed.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 2:13:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sc-direction-contrary-to-federal-structure/article34502007.ece

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