Supreme Court gives Telangana a fortnight to pay its share of dues

A view of Supreme Court of India. File

A view of Supreme Court of India. File | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave Telangana a fortnight to pay its half share of a total ₹5 lakh in costs imposed by a Constitution Bench on the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh, which had unconstitutionally decided to provide 100% reservation for tribal teachers in schools located in Scheduled Areas.

A Vacation Bench led by Justice M.R. Shah recorded that the now bifurcated Andhra Pradesh has already paid its half share. The Bench ordered the money to be transferred to the Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee immediately.

In 2020, a five-judge Bench of the apex court led by Justice (now retired) Arun Mishra had concluded that it was an "obnoxious idea" to have only tribals teach tribals.

"The action defies logic and is arbitrary. Merit cannot be denied in toto by providing reservations," Justice Mishra, who wrote the verdict for the Constitution Bench, had observed.

The judgment had come on the basis of a reference made to the five-judge Bench in 2016 on the question of whether 100% reservation was permissible under the Constitution.

The court held that 100% reservation was discriminatory and impermissible. The court had also referred to the Indira Sawhney judgment, which capped reservation at 50%.

"Citizens have equal rights, and the total exclusion of others by creating an opportunity for one class is not contemplated," Justice Mishra had written.

The case stemmed from a legal challenge to a January 10, 2000 order issued by the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh providing 100% reservation to Scheduled Tribe candidates, out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women, for the post of teachers.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 7:23:56 am |