Title of the Case- Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao and others v. State of Andhra Pradesh and others.
Court – Supreme Court of India
Bench- Justice Arun Mishra, Hon’ble Ms. Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah, Aniruddha Bose (5 judge bench)
Appellants – CHEBROLU LEELA PRASAD RAO & ORS
Respondents- STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH & ORS
Citation- 2020 SCC OnLine SC 383, Appeal (Civil), 3609 of 2002,
Facts of the case
- The governor of Andhra Pradesh in the exercise of his powers under para 5(1) of Schedule V to the Constitution of India, directed that the posts of teachers in the educational institution in the scheduled tribe areas shall be reserved for scheduled tribes only notwithstanding anything contained in any other order or rule or law in force.
- The Andhra Pradesh Administrative tribunal quashed the notification. Another notification was promulgated to amend the previous notification and stated that the appointment of non tribals to hold the posts of teachers in the scheduled areas till such time the qualified local tribals were not made available. After that, nontribals who were appointed as teachers in the scheduled areas filed Writ Petition No.5276/1993 in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad against termination of their services. The same was allowed vide judgment, and the advertisements were held to be violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
- The Government issued a fresh notification vide GOMs. No. 3 dated 10.1.2000 effectively providing for 100% reservation in respect of appointment to the posts of teachers in the scheduled areas. The tribunal set aside the GOMs (notification). Aggrieved thereby, writ petitions were filed in the High Court, a 3 Judge Bench by majority upheld the validity of G.O. Aggrieved by the same, the appeals have been made to the supreme court of India.
- What is the scope of paragraph 5(1), Schedule V to the Constitution of India?
- Whether 100% reservation is permissible under the Constitution?
Arguments advanced by appellant
- There limited legislative power is conferred on the Governor to modify the existing legislation made by the Parliament or the State legislature under Para 5(1) of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution. The power to make regulation was conferred under Para 5(2) of Schedule V. Under Para 5(1), there is no such legislative power.
- The Constitution of India does not permit 100% reservation in respect of any particular class or category to the total exclusion of others. Reservation set out under Article 16 should not exceed the limit of 50%. (There is also a precedent in the case Indra Sawhney v. Union of India).
- Reservation set out under Article 16 should not exceed the limit of 50%. The G.O. would be counterproductive to the aim of the Constitution in providing protective legislation, and the main thrust of the reservation is to bring in the disadvantaged classes into the mainstream of the society at large. The idea of the tribal students to be taught by tribal teachers in the scheduled areas is akin to compromising with the merit and quality of education and further put the tribal children at a disadvantage and segregate them from the mainstream.
Arguments advanced by the respondent
- The Indian Constitution is symmetrical and spatial for SCs/STs. In that view, the scheduled areas are constituted under the provisions of Article 244 and Schedules V and VI. The Constitution creates special classification. Equality is a concept of anti arbitrariness. The normal rule of 50% reservation can be relaxed in appropriate cases that have precisely been done by the Governor.
- The scheme of Schedule V, as a whole, deserves to be dealt with on a special constitutional footing, which is an exclusive constitutional enclave, free in its ambit to ensure the promotion of the interests, concerns, and the development of scheduled areas.
- There are Special provisions which have been carved out in the Constitution, Article 16(4) is not an exception to Article 16(1) being part of equality. Reservations are provided due to discrimination and disadvantages suffered by the backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes for sharing the State power.
- A question is raised whether an executive order made in terms of Article 16(4) is effective and enforceable by itself or whether it is necessary that the said “provision” is enacted into a law made by the appropriate legislature under Article 309 or is incorporated into and issued as a Rule by the President/Governor under the proviso to Article 309 for it to become enforceable?
- The court stated that until a law is made or rules are issued under Article 309 with respect to the reservation in favor of backward classes, it would always be open to the Executive Government to provide for reservation of appointments/posts in favor of Backward Classes by an executive order.
- By providing 100 percent reservation to scheduled tribes has deprived the opportunity to other communities. The concept of reservation is not proportionate but adequate, as held in Indra Sawhney (supra). The action is thus unreasonable and arbitrary and violative of provisions of Article 14,15 and 16 of the Constitution of India. It also impinges upon the right of open category and scheduled tribes who have settled in the area after 26th January 1950. The total percentage of reservation provided for Scheduled Tribes in the State is 6%. By providing 100 percent reservation in the scheduled areas, the rights of the tribals, who are not residents of the scheduled areas, shall also be adversely affected. As per Presidential order under Article 371D, they cannot stake their claim in other areas.
- The honorable court thus stated that It was least expected from the functionary like Government to act in aforesaid manner as they were bound by the dictum laid down by this Court in Indra Sawhney (supra) and other decisions holding that the limit of reservation not to exceed 50%. There was no rhyme or reason with the State Government to resort to 100% reservation and therefore these notification are unconstitutional.
This case is very important and has far-reaching consequences, it has strengthened the arguments of having a revision of the reservation list by the Government, the court is of opinion that “It can be done presently without disturbing the percentage of reservation so that benefits trickle down to the needy and are not usurped by those classes who have come up after obtaining the benefits for the last 70 years or after their inclusion in the list”.
The court opinion can also be interpreted to strengthen the arguments to introduce a creamy layer for the SC/ST community as it is considered for the OBC community, which can help the poorest of poor and those who are devoid of the benefits of reservation.