SC Constitution Bench Decides on Validity of 100% Reservation for STs

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Arun Mishra has delivered its judgment in a case challenging 100% reservation for Scheduled Tribes in Andhra Pradesh. The Bench also comprised of Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose. The Bench struck down the 100% reservation, calling it “unconstitutional”.

The constitution bench termed it as “unfair and unreasonable” and against the 50% ceiling set in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India. It held the action to be unreasonable and arbitrary.  The bench held the 100% reservation to be violative of provisions of Article 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India. The apex court further observed that by now there are socially and economically advanced classes within Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes. The bench noted, that these classes are not letting the benefits trickle down to the poor and needy; to the people, who are in need of such reservations.

The list of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes is notified by the President under Article 341 of the Constitution of India. The Court agreed with Dr. Rajeev Dhawan’s submissions that there is a strong need to revise the lists. As observed in Indra Sawhney, the list is not “sacrosanct and unalterable“. Thus, it called for a revision of the list of classes entitled to reservation benefits.