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𝙰𝙵𝙵𝙾𝚁𝙳𝙰𝙱𝙻𝙴 & 𝙰𝙲𝙲𝙴𝚂𝚂𝙸𝙱𝙻𝙴

CASE LAWSCONSTITUTIONLEGAL AFFAIRS

INDRA SAWHNEY VS UNION OF INDIA

Give a detailed analysis of Indra Sawhney vs Union of India 1992 Suppl. (3) SCC 217 case.

• Facts of the Case
The first backward classes commission was set up by the first Janata Government under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister of India (now Prime Minister of India) (now Prime Minister Vajpayee) on the basis of Article 340 of Constitution of India (now the Constitution of India) on January 1, 1979. The second commission was set up under the Chairperson of the Prime Minister (present Prime Minister of India, Prime Minister Dr. Sanjay Gandhi) (now the Chief Minister of Maharashtra) (present Prime Minister Mr. Sanjay Gandhi). The purpose of the Mandal Commission was to investigate the situation of the social and educational backward classes in India. The first backward classes commission (now known as Kaka kallelkar’s Commission) was set up in 1953 on the basis of the Constitution of India (Now the Constitution of India).

The first report of this commission was submitted in March 1955 in which 2399 caste groups were classified as backward classes. However, the Central Government rejected the report. The second commission (under the chairperson of the present Prime Minister Dr. BP Mandal) was set up to investigate the social and education backward classes in India and to recommend to the Government of India the necessary measures to be taken for the upliftment of these backward classes.
The Commission identified around 3743 castes as being socially and educationally backward classes in its report, which was submitted in December 1980. One of the Commission’s main recommendations was to add the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), who make up nearly 52% of the population, to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), bringing the total reservation for SCs, STs, and OBCs to 50%.

The Janata administration collapsed as the Commission was submitting its findings as a result of party divisions, making it impossible for it to put the Commission’s recommendations into action. After that, the Indira Gandhi-led Congress administration took office at the federal level, although even she failed to put the commission’s findings into practice.

Gandhi’s rule came to an end, and the Janata Dal returned to power and determined to carry out the Commission’s long-overdue recommendations. Following that, on August 13, 1990, Prime Minister V.P. Singh issued an office memo designating 27% of the seats for the socially and economically underprivileged sections.
However, for three months there were violent protests taking place all over the nation, resulting in harm to people and destruction of property. Indian youth protested this choice by taking to the streets.
In October 1990, the Supreme Court Bar Association filed a writ petition contesting the legality of the government’s office of memoranda.
Later, the Janata Party once again disintegrated, and P. V. Narasimha Rao was elected, bringing two new changes by prioritizing.
In a succession of writ petitions, the Supreme Court eventually questioned whether the memorandum was constitutional. Nine judges on a bench debated whether the memorandum was constitutional.

• Issues Involved

  1. Whether economy or caste can be the component that constitutes a different class?
  2. Whether Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India is an exception to Article 16(1) of the Constitution of India?
  3. Whether backward class stated under article 16(4) is similar to socially and educationally backward class as stated under Article 15(4) of the Constitution of India?
  4. Whether article 16(4) of the Constitution of India allows classification of backward class into Backward classes or Most Backward classes?

• Arguments of the Petitioners
Learner Senior Counsel Mr. N.A. Palkhiwala, Mr. K.K. Venugopal, and Smt. Shyamala Pappu presented the arguments.

First off, the Mondal Commission’s recommendations are subtly encouraging the diabolical notion of the caste system, which is nothing more than seen as opposed to the idea of secularism. They claimed that it would be risky and harmful for the swift advancement of Indian society as a whole as it marches toward the establishment of the welfare state. They said that the Commission’s identification of SEBCs based on the caste system is absurd and devoid of substance, let alone exposing hollowness. Accordingly, the OMs issued on the basis of the Mandal Report, which is primarily based on the caste criterion and violates Article 16(2), were claimed to be unlawful.
Venugopal (appeared on behalf of the petitioner) argued that the category of backwardness could be social, educational or economic. He argued that the authority appointed to determine the backward classes should first establish the criteria or indicators for determining the backward classes, and then apply those criteria to all the groups in the country, citing the provisions of Article 38(2) and Article 46. He further argued that the objective of the report was to reduce inequalities in income, not only between individuals but also between groups of persons, and to assist the weaker members of society.

Shyamala (appraisal officer) argued that caste could never be used as a basis for identification, and that the survey should be conducted on a case-by-case basis. She further argued that the report did not solely rely on the caste criteria, but that three other factors were also taken into account i.e., social backwardness, educational backwardness, economic backwardness and so on. She placed greater importance rightly so on the latter.

Thirdly, this Report based on the 1931 Census can never be used as the correct basis for determining the ‘backward class’. Therefore, a new Commission is to be appointed under Article 340 (1) of Constitution to carry out a new wide survey across the whole country and submit the new list of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) based on the current Census.

In Article 15 (4), the word ‘backward’ is used to refer to socially backward classes of the people. However, in Article 16 (4), the term ‘backward classes of citizens’ is used interchangeably with the term ‘any socially or educationally backward category of citizens’.

In order to be considered as a backward class, a person has to belong to a socially and educational backward class. Therefore, the backwardness of the class is considered to be material for the purpose of Article 15 (4) and Article 16 (4).

Fourth, if the Commission’s recommendations are implemented, the substandard will replace the standard, and the power will shift from the meritocracy to the mediocre. It will lead to demoralization and dissatisfaction, it will revive the caste system, it will divide the country into two-forward and backward.

It will open the door to internecine conflicts and fissipal forces, and it will make backwardness an obsession. The argument that the Commission’s recommendations will demoralize the meritocratic candidates applying for public employment will be rejected.

The provision of equal protection prohibits the state from making unjustified discrimination in the provision of preferences and facilities to any section of the population. The petitioner claimed that 27% reservation should be made for backward classes, whereas the respondent was in the queue to make 50% reservations..

• Arguments of the Respondents
First of all, the SEBCs’ just claim to benefit from Articles 16(4), which is a basic right, will be rejected if the aforementioned argument is accepted.

Second, the claim made by the petitioner that this report was entirely based on the census report from 1931 is unfounded and untrue, as can be seen from a reading of the Report, which shows that the 1931 census has no connection whatsoever to the identification of OBCs. However, they are only identified on the basis of the 1961 census report and the nationwide socio-educational field survey, notably for the identification of prehistoric tribes, aboriginal tribes, hill tribes, forest tribes, and indigenous tribes.

Thirdly, it cannot be said that the Commission ignored that factual position and found error in relying on the 1931 census. In fact, the Commission explains this position in Chapter XII of its report. However, a systematic caste-based census was introduced by the Chief Secretary of India in 1881 and was discontinued in 1931.Therefore, caste-wise population figures are not available after 1931.

Fourth, the Commission reviewed only the Census Report of 1931, with the aim to get an idea of community level population figures from the 1931 Census data and then group them into broad caste clusters and religious groups. These collectivizations were later merged into five main groups, namely (I) Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; (ii) non-Hindu communities, religious groups, etc.; (iii) additional Hindu castes and communities; (iv) Backward Hindu Castes and Communities; and (v) backward non-Hindu communities.

Fifth, the Commission presented its report enumerating the various classes of people only after deeply examining the social, educational and economic backwardness of various categories of citizens of our country according to the various suggestions and experiments of the European Court. for acceptance. treated as OBCs. The report’s recommendations, which come after a long hiatus since the first report of the Commission on Backward Classes, support affirmative action programs that have been designed for centuries for members of historically disadvantaged groups to achieve competitive standards. of a well-developed society.

Sixth, the report actually wanted to reserve 52 percent of all central government posts for OBCs in proportion to their share of the population. However, following the statutory limit, it recommended only 27 per cent reservation, even though the number of OBC companies is almost double.

The argument mentioned on behalf of one of the petitioners that if the committee report is implemented, it will lead to substandard compensation and also demoralization of deserving candidates appearing for public service is completely false and based on a false premise. The purpose of Article 16(4) is to ensure equality of opportunity in public employment and to give adequate representation to those who have been in a very dissatisfied position for sociological reasons since time immemorial. Here the committee in its report recommended GOVT. just to achieve this goal and nothing else.

• Verdict of the Apex Court
In 1992, the Supreme Court of India made a historic decision in the case of Indra Sawhney v. Union of India also known as Mandal Commission case. The case concerned the implementation of reservations for socially and economically disadvantaged sections of Indian society in public employment and educational institutions. A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court delivered a judgment that upheld the constitutionality of OBC reservations in the country’s employment and educational institutions. However, it also imposed certain limitations and conditions for the implementation of reservations.

One of the key questions before the court was whether the classification of OBCs into a separate category was constitutional. The court held that the classification was based on understandable differences and was therefore constitutionally valid. The court also addressed the issue of the maximum number of reservations. It thought that the total reserve should not exceed 50 percent of the vacancies or positions.

However, it was also allowed in exceptional cases where a majority of the reservations can be justified. The court further emphasized that reservations should not be made only on the basis of economic criteria and social and educational backwardness should be the primary criteria for determining eligibility for reservations. The judgment also dealt with the exclusion of the creamy layer, which refers to the exclusion of relatively wealthy members of the reserved classes from the benefits of reservations. The court said that the exclusion of the creamy layer should also apply to OBCs and the exclusion should be based on economic criteria.

The court also directed the central government to form a permanent body to regularly monitor the implementation of reservations and identify backward classes that need affirmative action.

• Case Summary
The landmark Indra Sawhney judgement is a lengthy piece of judgement and for the ease of the readers, the crux of the judgement is summarized as follows:
According to Article 16(4) of the decree, classes of backward citizens can be identified on the basis of caste and not only on economic grounds. Economic criteria cannot be the only factor indicating delay under Article 16(4). Also, to prevent abuse of power, the late detection study should be objective and not subjective.

Article 16(4) is an independent clause and not an exception to Article 16(1) Article 16(4) of the Ordinance is exhaustive in nature, dealing only with retroactive categories. Article 16(1) allows reasonable classification and reservations with respect to other classes.

Socially and educationally backward classes according to Article 15(4) of the Regulations are different from backward classes according to Article 16(4) . Article 16(4) of the Regulation allows backward classes to be sub-classified into backward and backward classes. Cream layers (socially advanced people) can and must be excluded from the backward classes according to Article 16(4).

Reserves should not exceed 50 percent and the maximum of 50 percent should not be exceeded even with the implementation of the carryover rule (which fills the vacant positions in the next year). Promotions have no reservations.

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