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Quota within quota for SCs in Haryana

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Quota within quota for SCs in Haryana

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the Bill, key provisions, important SC groups in the state.

For Mains: Relevance and significance of this Bill, rationale behind this move, SC’s observations on the matter.

Context: The Haryana cabinet has recently approved the draft bill ‘The Haryana Scheduled Castes (Reservation in Admission in Educational Institutions) bill, 2020.’

This bill provides quota within quota for SCs in the state.

Key provisions and highlights of the Bill:

  1. The bill provides reservation of 50% seats to the deprived scheduled castes, out of the total 20% reserved for SC in the graduation and postgraduation courses.
  2. This will cover all educational institutions maintained by the government or receiving aid out of the state funds.It also includes government and government-aided technical and professional institutions. 
  3. Here, deprived SC includes all 36 castes which were part of Block Aincluding Valmiki, Bazigar, Sansi, Deha, Dhanak, and Sapera.

Why this was necessary?

  • As per employees data collected, the total number of the SC employees in the state is nearly 22% of the total strength. However, in respect of representation in various services, the erstwhile Block A scheduled castes representation in Group-A, Group-B and Group-C services is only 4.7 per cent, 4.14 per cent and 6.27 per cent respectively, though their population is about 11% of the total state population.
  • The Block A scheduled castes or the deprived scheduled castes were not so educationally qualified as the data from SECC 2011 indicates. Only 2.13% population of the deprived SCs is graduate, 3.78% of them are senior secondary and 6.74% are matriculate. Besides, 33.63% of them are illiterate. This makes them a distinct class of citizens who are deprived of their constitutional right of equality due to lack of education. Thus, it was decided to provide such reservation in admission to candidates belonging to deprived SCs.

Are states empowered to make such decisions?

Article 15(5) of the Constitution authorises the State to make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for SCs/STs for admission to educational institutions.

Criticisms:

This move is being criticised on the ground that it creates division within a class. Instead of this, critics say, the government should have offered special package or scholarship to Block A to upgrade their educational status.

What has the Supreme Court said in such matters?

The Supreme Court of India in the case of E.V. Chinnaiah Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (2004(9) SCALE) has held that the castes etc. specified as Scheduled Castes under Article 341 of the Constitution is a homogeneous group for the purpose of the Constitution.

The court said that the benefits of reservation are available to members of all such castes which have been specified as Scheduled Caste in relation to a State/Union Territory.

This case 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 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.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 341.
  2. Comparison of Chainnaiah with that of Sawhney case.
  3. Other states which provide reservations with reservation.

Mains Link:

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Sources: Indian Express.