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.