Validity of Sub-classification within the SC/ST Reservation: Supreme Court reserves judgment

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Today (February 08, 2024), the seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India was hearing a matter concerning the validity of sub-classification within the SC/ST Reservation (reserved categories). The bench consisting of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, Justice Vikram Nath, Justice BR Gavai, Justice Pankaj Mithal, Justice Manoj Misra, and Justice Bela M Trivedi reserved the judgment today after hearing the matter for three consecutive days. In 2020, the five-judge bench of the SC in the State of Punjab vs. Davinder Singh case observed that the judgment in the E.V. Chinnaiah vs. State of Andhra Pradesh case which held that sub-classification was not permissible was required to be reconsidered. The then 5-judge bench referred the matter for further consideration to a larger 7-judge bench. In this current case, the SC will specifically decide whether the ‘first preference’ reservation given to Balmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs over 50% of the total seats reserved for the category, as mentioned in the Punjab Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act, 2006, is valid. The legal proceedings today were initiated by Senior Advocate Mr. Manoj Swarup followed by Advocate Sagar, SA Nitesh Gupta, SA Sanjay Hegde, SA Kapil Sibal, and Additional Attorney General Shadan Farasat.