Reservation Issue On The Right To Equality

The issue of reservation is one of the debateable topic among the realm of constitutional scholars. When contrast with the notion of equality, it seems to a layman, that it is an arbitrary exercise of power and violative of the right to equality. In India the issue of reservation is not only a constitutional talk but also it generates political nature. Nowadays it is understood, to a common man, a key to success i.e. through which a person can achieve what he cannot if he remains a candidate of non-reserved category

The Constitution of India, under chapter three, provides and guarantees the Right to Equality i.e. Article 14 to 18 and it can be said that right to equality is the cornerstone of the Indian democracy. Article 15 of the Constitution is a non-discriminative Article, it provide that state shall not discriminate on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. But Article 15(4) of the constitution provides that the state can make special provision for the advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes and for the schedule caste and schedule tribe. Escaping the ever ending debate on equality and reservation, it is better to come to the topic which this project would be dealing.

From the above it is crystal clear that the state can make reservation for the schedule caste and schedule tribe. The case of E.V.Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh is unique in itself, it deals with the issue that whether the schedule caste can further be sub-divided so that the benefit of reservation can reach to the outreach.

The seed of the case of E.V.Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh were sore in the case of Indira Sawhney versus Union of India where the hon’ble supreme court had involved the concept of creamy layer. It means that those individual who are relatively wealthier and more educated members of the ‘other backward classes’ shall not be permitted to have the benefit of reservation. In the case of chinnaiah the issue was that among the schedule caste of the state there were some groups which were enjoying the benefit of the Government sponsored reservation and some groups were not able to get the benefit of reservation. Thus the State Government feels it necessary to make reach the benefit of reservation to those deprived sections of the society.

The main issue which was involved in the chinnaiah case was the legitimacy of the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes (Rationalisation of Reservations) Act, 2000. The hon’ble Supreme Court had to decide that whether the above mentioned enactment stood firm on the parameters of the notion of equality, and that whether the state Government had enough of legislation to enact such enactment.

This project would be dealing with the following issues:

That had been raised in the case of E.V.Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh i.e. the facts, the arguments, the issues and the judgement of the instant case.

It would further be dealing the other leading authorities pertaining to the issue of reservation of the schedule caste.

A brief analysis would also be done between the case of Chinnaiah and Indira Sawhney.

A brief comparative approach with the United States Constitution.

Lastly the conclusion of the project.

As this project had it limitations to the extent of 2500 words; it would not be possible for the author to deal the issues in great depth. While dealing with the point of reservation the project would also be dealing with the concept of equality and the principle of reasonable classification but it would not be possible to deal them with full justice. Further the issue of reservation would be centred on the schedule caste and not be dealing with that of the ‘schedule tribe’ and ‘other backward classes’.

With due respect to the hon’ble Supreme Court, this project would try to create a critical appraisal of the judgment pronounced in the case of E.V.Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh. The critical analysis would argue on the rational given in the instant case and it further be suggesting some points, which in the opinion of the author, should be included in the reservation policy.

RESERVATION OF THE SCHEDULE CASTE IN THE LIGHT OF E.V.CHINNAIAH VERSUS STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH

FACTS OF THE CASE: It is to be noted that in exercise of the power conferred by Article 341 of the Constitution the President had notified 59 groups, races, tribes etc as the schedule caste under ‘The Constitution (Schedule caste) Order 1950’. The state Government for the betterment of these Schedule Castes had appointed a commission which was tasked out to find those groups among the schedule caste who had not been able to avail the benefit of the reservation policy in the field of admission in professional colleges and appointment in services of the states.

The report of the commission was accepted by the state which lays down that on inter se backwardness the schedule castes of the state should be divided into four groups and separate quota in reservation should be fixed. the same done by the state government and the 15% reservation provided to the schedule caste category was divided into them as follows:

Group A- 1%

Group B - 7%

Group C – 6%

Group D – 1%

The state Government had passed an Ordinance and the same was challenged by various writ petition in the Court of law but during the pendency of the case the State Government transformed the Ordinance into an Act which was known as “ Andhra Pradesh Schedule Caste ( Rationalization of Reservation ) Act ,2000"

The Act was challenged on the same footing, as of the ordinance. The petition was decided by the High Court by the ratio of 4:1and the same was placed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the Instant case.

ISSUES PRESENTED IN THE CASE: The questions which were put before the Hon’ble Supreme Court as laid down by Justice sontosh Heghe while delivering the judgment for himself and other two judges were

Whether the impugned Act is violative of Article of 341(2) of the Constitution of India or not?

Whether the impugned Enactment is constitutionally invalid for lack of legislative competence?

Whether the impugned Enactment creates sub classification or micro classification of schedule Caste so as to violate Article 14 of the constitution of India?

Justice H.K.Sema also adhered to the questions raised by justice Heghe. The judgment of the High Court was critically evaluate by Juctice S.B.Sinha .

2.3.1 ARGUMENT ADVANCED-The contentions of the appellants in the instant were that the state legislature cannot bifurcate the presidential list under Article 341 and hence the Act suffers the legislative competence. Further the argument was raised that once the caste is notified into the Order it forms the class and further division of the class would amount to the violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

2.3.2 The contentions of the respondent were that, it rest with the state to what extent the caste shall be given the benefit of reservation and it shall depend upon their backwardness. Thus the state Government had full competence to enact the law in this regard.

JUDGMENT AS DILIVERED BY THE SUPREME COURT: The judgment of the Supreme Court firstly talks about the intentions of the constitution makers and then taking on the 1st issue the Hon’ble Justice Heghe observed it that Article 341 makes it clear that the state legislative or its executive had no power of disturbing the presidential list of schedule caste for the state. It further says that such executive action or legislative enactment which stands to interfere with various castes found in the presidential list would amount to violative of Article 341 of the Constitution of India.

The main part of the judgment was heavily relied upon the principle that once the schedule caste had been notified by the president under Article 341(1) of the Constitution the same forms the class. The Hon’ble Court taking the precedent of the case State of Kerala & Anr Versus N. M. Thomas and others [1] opined and quoted Justice Mathew “this shows that it is by virtue of this notification of the president that the schedule caste came into being. Though the members of the schedule caste are drawn from castes, races, or tribes, they attain a new status by virtue of the presidential notification". Justice Krishna Iyer in the above case had observed that “. The sequitor there of is that scheduled caste are one class for the purpose of the Constitution". Thus the rational from the words of Krishna Iyer is that a homogenous class of persons cannot sub divided further and such would be violative of constitutional mandate.

The court applying the Doctrine of Pith and Substance hold that the enactment is not a law in the field of education and state public services. [2] The court holds that the Act does not provide for any reservation but only re-distribute it among the class. The constitutional obligation of providing reservation had already been done by the State and further classifying the class is violative of the Constitution.

The last question which was put before the Hon’ble Supreme Court was whether the sub classifying the class is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution or not. The hon’ble Apex court while relying upon the number of judgments [3] and while contrasting ‘classification and equality’ observed “...But let us not evolve, through imperceptible extension, a theory of classification which may subvert, perhaps sub-merge, the precious guarantee of equality". Thus negating the view of the respondents the court hold the view that such micro classification of the class would be against the principles of reasonableness and if a class within a class is created, the same would amount to tinkering with the list. Such sub-classification would be violative of the Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The Apex court allowed the appeal and the Act, in question, was declared Ultra Virus the Constitution.

INDIRA SAWHNEY AND E.V. CHAINNAIAH: A COMPARATIVE APPROACH

3.1 The point of issue which is to be pondered upon is the relation of case of Chainnaiah and Sawhney. That in the case of Sawhney the Apex court had evolved the principle of creamy layer and held that those who had reached the “advanced social level or status" should not be wedded with the reservation. The court said if the creamy layer is not excluded among the backward classes then the benefit of reservation will not reach the really backward classes among the backward class i.e. the court in the case of Sawhney had sub-classified the ‘other backward class’ into backward and more backward classes.

3.2 Now if the case of Chainnaiah is compared with that of Sawhney it can clearly be point out that the court had diverted it stand what it taken in the case of Sawhney. The difference is that in the case of Sawhney the issue was involved with relating to the ‘other backward class’ and in the case of Chainnaiah it is in relation to the ‘schedule caste’.

3.3 In the case of Sawhney the hon’ble Supreme Court lays down that if a particular section of the class is forward, and what does forward means is both economically and educationally, then it misfits in the class. It was observed that “after excluding them alone the class would be truly a compact class. In fact such exclusion benefits the truly backward". Now it is to be noted that in the instant case the court permit the sub-classification of the class on the ground that the real backward citizens should not be deprived of the reservation facility.

3.4 When comparable with the case of Chainnaiah the Supreme Court laid down that class is homogenous group and further classification of the class would amount to be violative of the Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

3.5 Thus the opinion of the Supreme Court in both the cases in relation to the classification stands on different footing. This point will be dealt by the author in the chapter of critical appraisal of the case of Chainnaiah.

COMPARISION WITH UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS

4.1 Article 14 of the Constitution of India is very much to that of the 14th amendment of the American Constitution. Both postulates that the like should be treated alike. It should be noted that there are some ethnic and racial minority group in the United States of America. The equality clause of the American Constitution does not regard any benefit solely on the ground of race.

4.2 The case of Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher v. Lee Bollinger is important for the comparison of the Indian and the US position with relation to the reservation policy. In the instant case the every applicant from an underrepresented racial or ethnic minority groups was to be automatically awarded 20 points out of 100 points needed to guarantee admission. The same provision was struck down as violative of Equality clause.

4.3 The minority opinion in the instant case is that which suits the Indian position, while delivering the minority opinion Justice Ginsburg observed that "Our jurisprudence ranks race a "suspect" category, "not because (race) is inevitably an impermissible classification, but because it is one which usually, to our national shame, has been drawn for the purpose of maintaining racial inequality.".... For as insightfully explained, "the Constitution is both colour blind and colour conscious. To avoid conflict with the equal protection clause, a classification that denies a benefit causes harm, or imposes a burden must not be based on race. In that sense, the Constitution is color blind. But the Constitution is colour conscious to prevent discrimination being perpetuated and to undo the effects of past discrimination.

4.4 It was laid down that in the case of United States v. Jefferson County that those racial classifications which "imply an invidious assessment" must not be allowed but those classifications which advanced to "correct inequalities" should be allowed.

4.5 Thus it can be said that the Indian position of the reservation policy is in very tune with the minority opinion of Justice Ginsburg in the case of Gratz versus Bollinger. It can further be stated that the notion of equality in both the countries are the same and that both the countries follows the principle of ‘intelligible differentia’ i.e. the reasonable classification.

CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE CHAINNAIAH CASE.

5.1 It is with due respect to the hon’ble Supreme Court this project would try to create a critical appraisal of the judgment pronounced in the case of E.V.Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh.

5.2 In the instant case as it has been mention earlier that further classification of the schedule caste had not been allowed and such further classification had been understood as violative of Article 14 of the constitution. It is most respectfully that the doctrine of reasonable classification as enshrined in the equality clause means that the ‘like should be alike’. Now if in the class there are certain individual who are less backward than some other sections of the society then it is but natural that the same class does not remain a homogenous class and further classification of the same class would be in affirmation with the equality clause rather been violative of it. [4] 

5.3 The issue of further classification of the schedule caste was not a question before the hon’ble Court in the case of Indira Sawhney and so the court does not go into depth of the issue. The reasoning given by the Court in the case of Chainnaiah that the Sawhney bench lays down that the classification of the OBC would not be applicable to the schedule caste does not hold any rational behind it. As, in the opinion of the author, the further classification of the schedule caste would suffice to the cause of reservation and the benefit of reservation would had its effect in the truest sense.

5.4 Another lacuna, which author finds in the judgment of the instant case that the Hon’ble Supreme Court accepts that some sections of the class are more backward than the others. Thus if so the case is then the class does not remain a homogeneous class. It is to the surprise of the author that the Apex Court laid down that facility such as scholarship, hostel and special coaching should be provided to these ‘more backward schedule caste’ [5] , rather than giving them their portion of reserved seats.

5.5 An the opinion of the author reservation would be a perpetual case until a microscopic classification is not done and the benefit is not reached to those who are in real need of it.

CONCLUSION.

6.1 The issue of reservation is one of the most perplexed matters in the Indian politics. It is rather more political than that constitutional. The case of E.V.Chainnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh is unique in itself. The critical evaluators may say that it does not portray the ground reality of the Indian reservation system.

6.2 The case of Chainnaiah lays down that the State Government does not have the power to tinker with the list of Schedule caste as provided in ‘The Constitution ( Schedule Caste ) Order,1950’. It contemplates that as the State Government by enacting the law, which tinker with the presidential list, had encroached upon that part of legislation which he does not have the power to enact.

6.3 The main part of the judgement of the Court is heavily relied upon the argument that when the groups are been notified by the President in the list under Article 341 of the Constitution, the same take the shape of a homogenous class and thus there cannot be any further classification of the class.

6.4 The court summed up the first issue that Article 341 makes it clear that the state legislative or its executive had no power of disturbing the presidential list of schedule caste for the state. It further says that such executive action or legislative enactment which stands to interfere with various castes found in the presidential list would amount to violative of Article 341 of the Constitution of India.

6.5 Disagreeing with State Government the Hon’ble Supreme Court hold the view that in pith and substance the enactment is not a law governing in the field of education or the field of state public services. The Court lay down that the Act does not provide for the reservation to the schedule caste, only it re distribute it by sub classifying the caste which is already held to be a class by it.

6.6 Taking on classification and equality the Apex Court laid down that classification must be truly founded on substantial differences which distinguish person group together from those who left out from the group and such differential attributes must bear a just and rational relation to the object or to achieved.

6.7 Thus answering to all the three question in favour of the appellant the hon’ble Supreme Court allowed the appeal and also critically evaluate the grouping system made by the state system and thus struck down the Act as Ultra virus and violative of constitutional mandate

6.8 Now if the case of Chainnaiah is compared with that of Sawhney it can clearly be point out that the court had diverted it stand what it had taken in the case of Sawhney. The diversion of the Court in the case of Chainnaiah had attracts for its criticism.

6.9 One of the major criticism of the instant case is that the Court accepts in the later part of the judgment that some of the sections of the schedule caste are more backward than others then also the court stick to the view that they forms a homogenous class and sub classifying them would amount to violation of the constitutional scheme.

6.10 Now on the last concluding note it would be right to say that the case of E.V.Chainnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh leaves a negative impact on the mind of readers, when the same is been discussed in the light of the judgement of Indira Sawhney Versus Union of India.