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Committee formed to address equitable distribution of benefits among SCs

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • The Central government has formed a committee to address the equitable distribution of benefits among Scheduled Castes (SCs) across the country under the leadership of the Cabinet Secretary.

More about the news

  • The committee’s primary goal is to formulate a methodology that ensures fair distribution of benefits and initiatives among more than 1,200 Scheduled Castes nationwide.
  • The committee to focus on addressing the disparity among SCs caused by the dominance of certain relatively forward communities.
  • However, the committee does not have the authority to delve into questions related to reservation policies.
  • The committee’s constitution holds significance in light of the demand for the sub-categorization of SCs, although it cannot directly address reservation-related issues.
  • A 7-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear whether states have the power to subcategorize SCs.


Precedents on Subcategorization

·       In the case of E.V. Chinnaiah v State of Andhra Pradesh, the Supreme Court held that state-based subcategorization of SCs is violative of the right to equality and Article 341 of the Constitution.

·       State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh (2020) clarified that deciding on the quantum of benefits in the lists of SCs/STs would not amount to “tinkering” and states have the authority to make such decisions.

·       In ‘Jarnail Singh v Lachhmi Narain Gupta’ (2018), the SC upheld the concept of “creamy layer” within SCs, particularly in the context of reservation in promotions.

·       Article 341 grants the President the power to create a list of SC communities for reservation purposes.

·       Experts argue that Article 16(4) of the Constitution already provides for states to create special laws for any backward classes they perceive as under-represented.

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