Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao & Ors. v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. [2020 SCC OnLine SC 383]

The Supreme Court deals with the constitutional validity of 100% reservation in government positions for backward class, i.e., STs.

Bench – Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran, Indira Banerjee, M.R. Shah and Anirudhha Bose. 

Facts – During the execution of his powers under paragraph 5(1) of Schedule V to the Indian Constitution, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh instructed that the positions of teachers in educational institutions in ST areas be reserved for STs only, notwithstanding anything enclosed in any other order or law in power.

The notification was overturned by the Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal. Another notice was issued to modify the previous notice, stating that non tribals would be appointed to teach in the scheduled areas until trained skilled tribals were granted access.

Following that, non tribals hired as teachers in scheduled areas issued a Writ Petition in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad, challenging their dismissal. The same was permitted in a judgement, and the advertisements were found to be in violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.

The government introduced a revised notification through GOMs. No. 3 on 10th January 2000, effectively providing for 100 percent reservation in referral to positions of teachers in the designated areas. The GOMs were overturned by the tribunal. Following that, writ petitions were filed, and a three ­judge bench by majority upheld the validity of the G.O., prompting appeals to the Supreme Court of India.

Issues – 

  • What consists of the extent of scope of authority and powers of the Governor under Schedule V, Paragraph 5 (1)? 
  • Whether a notion of 100% reservation granted to individuals belonging to ST is valid under the Constitution or not?

Judgment – The major question in this case was regarding whether an executive order which has been given in accordance with Article 16 (4) is efficient and legally binding on its own or not. It also dealt with whether it is essential for the said provision to be implemented into a legislation enacted by the appropriate government as per the provisions of Article 309, or integrated into and granted as a Rule via the Governor as per the provisions of Article 309, before it becomes binding.

It was decided by the court that until and unless a legislation or a rule has been issued under the provisions of Article 309 regarding reservation of positions in favour of a backward community, STs, it shall always be accessible to the government in order to make a provision of reservation of positions in favour of those backward communities through an executive order.

Furthermore, it was ruled by the court that by supplying 100% reservation to STs, other communities have been denied the opportunity. According to Indra Sawhney judgment, the notion of reservation is not proportionate but sufficient. As a consequence, the action is irrational and arbitrary, and it violates provisions of Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Indian Constitution. It also violates the rights of open category and STs who settled in the area after January 26, 1950. The overall percentage of reservations available to STs in the state is 6%. By granting 100 percent reservation in scheduled areas, the rights of tribals who are not residents of scheduled areas will be jeopardised. They are not permitted to exert their power in other areas, according to Presidential order under Article 371­D.

The court ruled that it was least needed of the government to act in the aforementioned way because they were obligated by the dictum set down in the Indra Sawhney case and other decisions holding that the limit of reservation should not exceed 50%. The State Government had no rhyme or reason to resort to 100 percent reservation, and thus these notifications are unconstitutional.

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