Team  SoOLEGAL

Only Central government can identify, include a community within Socially and Educationally Backward class list: Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 6 May 2021 3:13pm

Only Central government can identify, include a community within Socially and Educationally Backward class list: Supreme Court

On Wednesday, 5th May, 2021, Supreme Court while hearing a case, Dr. Jaishri Laxmanrao Vs. Chief Minister, had held that after the inclusion of Article 342A in the Indian Constitution, only the Central Government has the power to determine Socially and Economic Backward Class and include them in the list which is to be published under Article 342A (1) of the Constitution of India. States can only make recommendations to the President or the Commission under Article 338B of the Indian Constitution for the inclusion, exclusion, or alteration of castes or groups in the list which is to be published.

Constitution Bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice S. Ravindra Bhatt were hearing the plea and the judgement was given by 3:2 majority. Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice S. Ravindra Bhatt had supported the proposition, whereas Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice L. Nageswara Rao were against this proposition. This critical ruling was a part of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, which granted the Maratha group reservation in public education and jobs.

One of the main arguments was that, on August 18 when 102nd amendment of the Constitution came into force, the power to declare a particular class to be socially and educationally backward by the State Legislature was taken back. The High Court had held that the restriction imposed by Article 342A of the Indian Constitution only applies to the list prepared by the Central Government. An appeal was made against the High Court’s order before the Supreme Court and two issues were framed, firstly whether 102nd Amendment of the Constitution deprives the State Legislature of its power and secondly whether Article 342A of the Constitution abrogates the power of the states to legislate or designate in relation to “any backward class of citizens,” thus affecting the federal policy / structure of the Indian Constitution.

The Court was of the view that, if the powers of the State to legislate or classify in respect of “any backward class of citizen” are being taken back by Article 342A of Indian Constitution, then it does not damage or violate the basic structure of Indian Constitution.  



Tagged: Supreme Court   Indian Constitution   Central Government   Article 338B   Constitution Bench   Maharashtra   State Reservation   Article 342A   SEBC  
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