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Reservation of seats for SCs/STs in LS, Assemblies

Why is it in the news?

  • A Constitution Bench headed by CJI will examine the validity of extending reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.

More about the news

  • Originally, the Constituent Assembly intended reservation for SCs/STs to last for only 10 years from the commencement of the Indian Constitution in 1950.
  • Article 334 of the Constitution, which deals with the time period for ceasing reservations, has been amended multiple times, extending the deadline by 10 years on each occasion.
  • The Constitution (104th Amendment) Act in 2019 fixed 2030 as the deadline to end reservations for SCs/STs in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
  • The Constitution Bench will examine whether Parliament can repeatedly use its constituent power to amend Article 334 and extend reservation for SCs/STs.
  • The court will specifically assess the constitutionality of the 104th Constitution Amendment Act of 2019 concerning SC/ST reservations.
  • The petitioner argues that these repeated extensions of reservation violate the fundamental right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • The challenge extends beyond the 104th Amendment and questions the entire principle behind granting reservation to SCs and STs in Parliament and State Assemblies.
  • The petition contends that these extensions of reservation exclude other communities from contesting in reserved seats, thus violating the right to equal representation in government.
Provision for Reservation
  • Article 334 of the Constitution lays down that the provisions of the Constitution relating to the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in the Lok Sabha and in the Legislative Assemblies of the States shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of thirty years from the commencement of the constitution.
  • Article 334 of the Constitution had originally required the reservation of elected seats to cease in 1960, but this was extended to 1970 by the 8th Amendment.
    • The article has been amended from time to time, with the last changed being done through the 95th amendment in 2009.
  • Part XVI deals with reservation of SC and ST in Central and State legislatures.

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