Dissenting view: Injustice to exclude SCs, STs & OBCs | The Financial Express

Dissenting view: Injustice to exclude SCs, STs & OBCs

For the purpose of the new reservations, the exclusion operates against the socially disadvantaged classes and castes, absolutely, by confining them within their allocated reservation quotas (15% for SCs, 7.5% for STs, etc.), he said.

Dissenting view: Injustice to exclude SCs, STs & OBCs
According to Justice Bhat and the CJI, reservation is designed as a powerful tool to enable equal access and equal opportunity.

Justice S Ravindra Bhat, writing for himself and Chief Justice UU Lalit, dissented to the Supreme Court’s majority verdict upholding the 10% EWS reservation on Monday, saying that “the impugned amendment and the classification it creates, is arbitrary, and results in hostile discrimination of the poorest sections of the society that are socially and educationally backward, and/ or subjected to caste discrimination.”

According to Justice Bhat and the CJI, reservation is designed as a powerful tool to enable equal access and equal opportunity. “Introducing the economic basis for reservation — as a new criterion, is permissible. Yet, the “othering” of socially and educationally disadvantaged classes — including SCs/ STs/ OBCs by excluding them from this new reservation on the ground that they enjoy pre-existing benefits, is to heap fresh injustice based on past disability. The exclusionary clause operates in an utterly arbitrary manner,” the judgment said.

For the purpose of the new reservations, the exclusion operates against the socially disadvantaged classes and castes, absolutely, by confining them within their allocated reservation quotas (15% for SCs, 7.5% for STs, etc.), he said, adding that it denies the chance of mobility from the reserved quota (based on past discrimination) to a reservation benefit based only on economic deprivation.

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Terming the net effect of the principle “Orwellian” in a way, Justice Bhat said, “Within the narrative of the classification jurisprudence, the differentia (or marker) distinguishing one person from another is deprivation alone. The exclusion, however, is not based on deprivation but social origin or identity. This strikes at the essence of the non-discriminatory rule. Therefore, the total and absolute exclusion of constitutionally recognised backward classes of citizens — and more acutely, SC and ST communities, is nothing but discrimination which reaches to the level of undermining.”

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First published on: 08-11-2022 at 02:30 IST