Ram Singh & Ors. Vs. Union of India on 7th March 2015, Supreme Court of India: Case Brief

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Notification published by Union Cabinet on 4.3.2014 to include Jats Community in Central List of Backward Classes for various states is challenged.
Bench: Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Fali Nariman
Writ Petition (Civil) No. 274 of 2014

Supreme Court in this case held that the notification bearing No.63 dated 4/3/2014 where Jats were included in the Central List of Other Backward Classes (OBC) for States of Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, NCT of Delhi, Bhartput and Dholpur Districts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are set aside and quashed by the apex court for various reasons.

Court considered that backwardness can be manifested by presence of various circumstances like social, cultural, economic, educational etc. Generally under Hindu society backwardness is associated with the caste as it is prominent factor for easy determination of backwardness of a social group and Court has been discouraging such an identification of a group, as it deems necessary that new methods have to be followed to move away from caste centric definition of backwardness. Court also considered the third gender as a socially and educationally backward class of citizens which was held in National Legal Services Authority vs Union of India [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 400 of 2012 (‘NALSA’)]and said that it is a significant development.

So the States have to consider other forms and instances of backwardness and attention of state should be on these emerging new groups and constitutional power should be concentrated to discover such groups rather than to enable groups of citizens to recover lost ground in claiming preference on historical prejudice.

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Article 16(4)of the Constitution states that“nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State”.In Indra Sawhney’s case court considered that educational and economic backwardness can contribute to social backwardness. Under Article 15(4) and 16(4) Court observed that self-declared socially backward class of citizens cannot continue to be constitutionally permissible method to determine backwardness. Looking into these reasons Court concluded that the view taken by Union Government that Jats in the above said 9 states in question, and cannot be included in the central list of OBC for states concerned.

Court also appreciated the NCBC’s report where in it did not accept the findings of Haryana State government and court also observed that data’s that was submitted would be at least a decade old and outdated statistics cannot provide accurate parameters to measure the backwardness for including the list of OBC.

by Sushma Javare.

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See Original Judgement:RAM SINGH & ORS Vs. UOI 17th March 2015 Supreme Court of India