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A caste in SC list can only be included by parliament: Allahabad High Court

Allahabad High Court Quashes UP Govt Orders Notifying 17 OBCs as Scheduled Castes by stating that “A caste in SC list can only be included by parliament”. This was seen in the case of Dr. B.R. Ambedker Granthalaya Evam Jan Kalyan v. State of U.P. and others [PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (PIL) No. – 2129 of 2017]. And the judgement was presided over by the division bench of Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice J. J. Munir.

Facts of the case-             

A writ plea filed by Dr. B.R. Ambedker Granthalaya Evam Jan Kalyan Samiti, Gorakhpur challenging two Government Orders issued in 2016 where members of certain ‘Other Backward Castes’ were sought to be declared as Scheduled Castes. This include caste namely Majhwar, Kahar, Kashyap, Kevat, Mallah, Nishad, Kumhar, Prajapati, Dheevar, Bind, Bhar, Rajbhar, Dhiman, Batham, Turha, Godia, Manjhi and Machua.

The petitioner had argued that only the Parliament of the country has the right to include any caste in the SC list as per the provision under Article 341 of the constitution. It was further argued on behalf of the petitioners that the list of Scheduled Castes was prepared by the President of India and only the Parliament has the right to make any changes to the same and that the states have no right to amend it in any way.

Judgement-

The Court ordered that the order of the UP Govt recognizing 17 Castes, that were otherwise in the category of O.B.C., as Scheduled Castes in the State of Uttar Pradesh was not proper as it is impermissible for a state government to undertake such an exercise in view of the provisions of Article 341 of the constitution.

The court said “The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 alone can specify which castes, races or tribes or groups within castes, races or tribes, shall be regarded as Scheduled Castes under the Constitution, in relation to a particular State or a Union Territory. The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order has to be made by the President of India. Under Article 341(2), any change to the list of Scheduled Castes specified in the President’s order can only be made by Parliament by law. A parliamentary law alone can include in or exclude from the list of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950, as amended in 1976, a particular caste. The order to be made by the President, which has been described under Article 341 as a notification is insulated from any kind of variation by a subsequent notification, even by the President. The only variation that can be done is by a parliamentary enactment, not otherwise,”

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Judgement reviewed by Utkarsh sahu

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