Keywords: Test of Backwordness
Case Referred to Constitution Bench
Date: November 14, 2017
Act : Constitution of India
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
State of Tripura & Ors. Vs. Jayanta Chakraborty & Ors.
[Civil Appeal No(S). 4562-4564 of 2017]
[CONMT.PET.(C) No. 11/2017 In SLP (C) No. 19765/2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.19765-19767/2015]
[CONMT.PET.(C) No. 13/2017 In SLP (C) No. 19767/2015 @ SLP(C) Nos.19765-19767/2015]
[C.A. No. 5247/2016] [C.A. No. 11817/2016] [C.A. No. 4880/2017] [C.A. No. 4878-4879/2017] [C.A. No. 11816/2016] [C.A. No. 11820/2016] [C.A. No. 4876-4877/2017] [C.A. No. 4881/2017] [C.A. No. 4833/2017] [C.A. No. 4882/2017] [C.A. No. 701-704/2017] [C.A. No. 11822-11825/2016] [C.A. No. 11837-11840/2016] [C.A. No. 11842-11845/2016] [C.A. No. 11829-11832/2016] [C.A. No. 11847-11850/2016] [C.A. No. 11828/2016]
[Diary No. 31145 of 2017]
O R D E R
1. The questions posed in these cases involve the interpretation of Articles 16(4), 16(4A) and 16(4B) of the Constitution of India in the backdrop of mainly three Constitution Bench decisions –
(1) Indra Sawhney and others v. Union of India and others 1,
(2) E.V Chinnaiah v. State of A.P. and others 2 and
(3) M. Nagaraj and others v. Union of India and others
One crucially relevant aspect brought to our notice is that Nagaraj (supra) and Chinnaiah (supra) deal with the disputed subject namely backwardness of the SC/ST but Chinnaiah (supra) which came earlier in time has not been referred to in Nagaraj (supra). The question of further and finer interpretation on the application of Article 16(4A) has also arisen in this case. Extensive arguments have been advanced from both sides. The petitioners have argued for a re-look of Nagaraj (supra) specifically on the ground that test of backwardness ought not to be applied to SC/ST in view of Indra Sawhney (supra) and Chinnaiah (supra). On the other hand, the counsel for the respondents have referred to the cases of Suraj Bhan Meena and Another v. State of Rajasthan and others 4;
Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited v. Rajesh Kumar and others 5;
S. Panneer Selvam and others v. State of Tamil Nadu and others 6;
Chairman and Managing Director, Central Bank of India and others v. Central Bank of India SC/ST Employees Welfare Association and others and Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of Uttar Pradesh and others 8 to contend that the request for a revisit cannot be entertained ad nauseam. However, apart from the clamour for revisit, further questions were also raised about application of the principle of creamy layer in situations of competing claims within the same races, communities, groups or parts thereof of SC/ST notified by the President under Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution of India.
2. Having regard to the questions involved in this case, we are of the opinion that this is a case to be heard by a Bench as per the constitutional mandate under Article 145(3) of the Constitution of India. Ordered accordingly. Place the files before the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India immediately.
3. Though the learned counsel have pressed for interim relief, we are of the view that even that stage needs to be considered by the Constitution Bench. The parties are free to mention the urgency before the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India.
………………….J. (KURIAN JOSEPH)
………………….J. (R. BANUMATHI)