Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao & Ors. Vs State of A.P. & Ors. (Civil Appeal No.3609 Of 2002)
Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao & Ors. Vs State of A.P. & Ors.
Civil Appeal No.3609 Of 2002
Supreme Court of India (Civil Appellate Jurisdiction)
Constitution Bench - Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra (author), Hon’ble Justice M.R. Shah, Hon’ble Justice Aniruddha Bose, Hon’ble Justice Indira Banerjee, Hon’ble Justice Vineet Saran
ALSO KNOWN AS
POINT OF CONSIDERATION
Whether the State can provide for 100% reservation in favour of Scheduled Tribes in respect of appointment to the posts of teachers in the Scheduled Areas or not?
The Government of erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh issued a notification vide GOMs. No.3 dated 10.1.2000 effectively providing for 100% reservation in favour of Scheduled Tribes in respect of appointment to the posts of teachers in the scheduled areas. The said notification was issued by the then Governor under Schedule V, para 5(1) of the Constitution.
The Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal (“Tribunal” for short) set aside the GOMs. Aggrieved thereby, writ petitions were filed in the High Court, a 3Judge Bench by majority upheld the validity of G.O. Aggrieved by the same, the appeals had been preferred in the Supreme Court.
In the present reference, the validity of the G.O.M. No.3 dated 10.1.2000 issued by the State providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates for the post of teachers in the schools in the scheduled areas in the State of Andhra Pradesh was under challenge.
ISSUES RAISED & RATIO
Whether 100% reservation was permissible under the Constitution?
The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the G.O.Ms. No.3/2000 that provided for 100% reservation under Article 16(4) was not permissible under the Constitution as the outer limit of reservation was 50% as specified in Indra Sawhney vs Union of India (1992)
The Court explained that what was sought to be achieved by Articles 14 and 16 was equality and equality of opportunity. In Indra Sawhney, the Court emphasised that founding fathers never envisaged reservation of all seats, and 50% shall be the rule. Some relaxation may become imperative, but extreme caution was to be exercised, and a special case was to be made for exceeding reservation more than 50%.
In the present case, it was adjudged that there were no such extraordinary circumstances to provide a 100% reservation in Scheduled Areas. It was regarded obnoxious that tribals only should teach the tribals. When there were other local residents, why they could not teach was not understandable. The action defied logic and was held arbitrary.
Further it was held that the notification was violative of Article 14 and 16(4) of the Constitution of India as by way of 100% reservation, the employment to others was illegally deprived and the others had no chance of employment. The citizens had equal rights, and the total exclusion of others by creating an opportunity for one class was not contemplated by the founding fathers of the Constitution of India.
Whether the notification merely contemplated a classification under Article 16(1) and not reservation under Article 16(4) or not?
It was held that the notification could not be treated as a classification made under Article 16(1). Once the reservation had been provided to Scheduled Tribes under Article 16(4), no such power of classification could be exercised under Article 16(1).
It was further explained that Article 16(4) was exhaustive of the special provisions that could be made in favour of a backward class of citizens, that were, other backward classes, scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes. Reservations for other classes could be provided under clause (1) of Article 16.
Whether the exercise of the power conferred on the Governor to make rules/regulations/modification under Schedule V of the constitution could override fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III or not?
It was reiterated that the Fifth Schedule (under which the impugned notification was promulgated) found a reference in Article 244 of the Constitution of India which dealt with the administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas.
It was held that every action of the legislature, whether it was Parliament or Executive, had to conform with the rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution. The original scheme of the Constitution itself so provided; thus, provisions under Schedule V did not override the rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution. The limitations on the legislature in the field of legislation were applicable to Governor also.
IMPORTANT CASES REFERRED
Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India & Anr, (1978) 1 SCC 248
M. Nagaraj v. Union of India, (2006) 8 SCC 212
Indra Sawhney & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., (1992) Supp. 3 SCC 217
Jarnail Singh & Ors. v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta & Ors., 2018 (10) SCC 396
The author is a LL.B Graduate of University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGSIPU, New Delhi