Delhi govt to stick to current policy, follow quota fixed by Centre

The Delhi government will continue to adhere to the reservation policy as fixed by the central government allowing 15 per cent quota for Scheduled Castes and 7.5 per cent for Scheduled Tribes, keeping aside the principle of nativity of the beneficiaries.

In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the Delhi government said that till the issue – if providing reservations as per direction issued by the President under Article 341 (1) or Article 342 (1) would have any bearing on the state government’s action – is settled by a larger bench, it will stick to the present quota policy in jobs and education.

The city government sought dismissal of an appeal that challenged a 2010 ruling of the Delhi High Court.

The Constitution under Article 341 and 342 provides separate list of SCs and STs respectively for the states and Union Territories. For Delhi, 36 castes have been notified through Presidential notification as SCs and no list of ST was notified for Delhi.

In June 2005, a circular was issued stating that the Delhi government should follow the central government’s pattern of reservation for SC/ST irrespective of nativity.

This was based on the apex court’s ruling in S Pushpa case in 2005, where it was held that there would be no legal infirmity if the Union Territory of Pondicherry followed the central government’s reservation policy.

But in the 2009 case of Sarv Rural, a two-judge bench held that the ruling in the S Pushpa case was a mere “obiter dicta” and hence not binding.

It further ruled that reservation in jobs and education could be given to only those SC/ST who figure in the list of that state or UT.

“This will mean depriving all categories of STs from the benefit of reservation in Delhi in the absence of Presidential notification under Article 342 and also depriving migrant SCs from the benefit of reservation in civil jobs there,” the Delhi government said.

In another judgment in 2010 titled ‘State of Uttaranchal Vs Sandeep Kumar Singh’, the apex court said that the two-judge bench in Sarv Rural’s case could not have declared the three-judge bench decision in the S Pushpa case as “obiter and per incuriam”.

Accordingly, the matter was referred to the Chief Justice of India for setting up a larger bench for considering the question of law, “whether any Presidential order has any bearing on the state’s action in making provision for reservation in appointments of posts in favour of any backward classes of citizens, which in the opinion of the state is not adequately represented in the services under the state.”

However, a PIL was filed in 2010 in the Delhi HC for implementation of the Sarv Rural case, seeking direction that only those SCs who were listed in Delhi should be granted the benefit of reservation and no such treatment to any ST in absence of any Presidential notification.

The HC dismissed the petition, saying that the ruling in the S Pushpa case was binding as it was rendered by a three-judge bench.

Responding to an appeal filed against the HC’s verdict, the Delhi government sought its dismissal saying that the Union Home Ministry re-examined the matter in consultation with the Law Ministry and also sought opinion of the Attorney General, who concurred with the HC’s view that till the matter is resolved by the larger bench, the decision in S Pushpa case will prevail.

This means the UT government can adopt the central government’s reservation
policy.

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