The Supreme Court on Thursday said its 2004 judgement that states do not have the power to further sub-classify the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, for grant of quotas in jobs and admissions to educational institutions, needs to be revisited, PTI reported.
A five-judge bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said in its view the 2004 judgment in EV Chinnaiah case was not correctly decided. The court said state legislatures can make laws to give preferential reservation to sub-castes within categories. “Once the state has the power to give reservations, it can also make sub classification to extend benefit to those sub castes not receiving the benefit,” Justice Mishra said, according to News18.
The bench placed the matter before Chief Justice SA Bobde for setting up of a larger bench to definitively decide the question. The court was hearing Punjab government’s appeal against a 2010 verdict by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which had struck down a state law empowering the government to sub-classify SC/STs for grant of quotas.
The high court had relied on EV Chinnaiah case judgement, saying the state government was not empowered to undertake the exercise.