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SC: States can give quota within reserved categories

The Constitution bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose opined that it would  be  open  to  the  State  to provide  on  a  rational  basis  the  preferential  treatment  by  fixing reasonable   quota   out   of   reserved   seats   to   ensure   adequate representation  in  services.   

The bench further added that the benefit  by  and  large  is  not percolating  down  to  the  neediest  and  poorest  of  the  poor.

The Court said in a federal structure the State  Government  has  the  right  to  provide  reservation  in  the  fields  of employment  and  education. There  is  no  constitutional  bar  to  take further  affirmative  action  as  taken  by  the  State  Government  in  the cases  to  achieve  the  goal.    By  allotting  a  specific  percentage  out  of reserved  seats  and  to  provide  preferential  treatment  to  a  particular class,  cannot  be  said  to  be  violative  of  the Constitution.

 Though the bench has referred the matter to the Chief Justice of India to send it to a larger bench of at least seven judges since another 5 judges bench gave a contradictory view in 2005 judgment. 

The question was posed before the Supreme Court in a batch of appeals against the decision of the Punjab & Haryana High Court which struck down Section 4(5) of the Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act of 2006 as being unconstitutional.
The 2006 Act of Punjab had provided preference to Balmiki and Mazhbi Sikhs from the quota for the SC communities.

Report by Vikas Sarthi 

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