Booking category No one can simultaneously claim quota benefits in two successor states: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has ruled that a person who is entitled to the benefit of the reservation in either the State of Bihar or the State of Jharkhand will not have the right to claim the benefit of the reservation. reservation simultaneously in the two successor States.
Allowing such a simultaneous claim would run counter to the mandate of Articles 341 (1) and 342 (1) of the Constitution, the court observed. Those who are members of the reserved category and resident in the successor state of Bihar, while participating in the open selection in the state of Jharkhand will be treated as migrants and will be able to participate in the general category without claiming the reservation benefit and vice versa
A divisional bench comprising Judges UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi judged him by setting aside a judgment of the High Court of Jhakrhand (Pankaj Kumar v. Jharkhand State and others).
The relevant observations of the judgment are as follows:
“It is clearly stated that a person has the right to claim the benefit of the reservation in either the successor state of Bihar or the state of Jharkhand, but will not have the right to claim the benefit of the reservation simultaneously in the successor States and in those which are members of the reserved category and resident of the successor State of Bihar, while participating in the open selection in the State of Jharkhand will be treated as migrants and it will be open to participate in the general category without claiming the benefit of the reserve and vice versa“.
“..we specify that the person has the right to claim the benefit of the reservation in either the successor state of Bihar or the state of Jharkhand, but would not be entitled to claim the privileges and advantages of the reserve simultaneously in both states and if this is allowed, it goes against the mandate of Articles 341 (1) and 342 (1) of the Constitution ”.
The Court was seized of two appeals. In one case, appellant Pankaj Kumar was refused appointment to the SC quota during the civil service examination in Jharkhand on the grounds that his proof of permanent address showed him to be a resident of Patna, Bihar. It is his case that he was born and raised in those areas of the former unified state of Bihar, which later became part of Jharkhand. While only one High Court bench upheld its application for SC quota appointment in Jharkhand, the division bench quashed it in a state appeal.
The other appeal was brought by people whose appointment as SC category police officers in Jharkhand was terminated on the grounds that the caste certificates they produced showed them as residents of the state. from Bihar.
The appellants argued that they could not be treated as migrants from Bihar to Jharkhand, but rather it was a case where they were in the successor state after the bifurcation of the unified state. . Since the president’s order notifying the castes listed for Jharkhand also includes their castes, there was no reason to exclude them, the appellants argued.
Attorney General KK Venugopal argued that the Ministry of the Interior issued a government decree dated February 22, 1985 stating, among other things, that persons belonging to the reserved category have the right to claim benefits only in their State of origin and not in the State to which the holder has migrated and the Constitutional Chamber of this Court has further approved that a person has the right to claim the benefit of the reservation only in his State of origin and not in the state to which she migrated.
Analysis and reasoning of the Supreme Court
The presidential decree works in relation to the state
The Court noted that Articles 341 (1) and 342 (1) of the Constitution of India empowers the President to specify race or tribes or part of groups within caste, race or tribes with regard to any State or Union territory for the purposes of the Constitution deemed to be SC / ST as regards that State or Union territory, depending on the case
“It is obvious that by specifying the castes, race or tribes, the President was authorized to limit the notification to part of the groups with the castes, etc. and this must mean that after considering the disadvantages they suffered and the social situation and economic backwardness, the President can specify the castes / tribes, etc. as part of these in relation to the state as a whole or in relation to parts of the state when it is satisfied that after considering the disadvantages, social and educational difficulties and the backwardness of the race, caste or tribes justify such a specification “, the judgment written by Judge Rastogi said.
“The consideration for specifying a List Caste or List Tribes or Backward Classes in a given State depends on the nature and extent of the disadvantages and social and educational delay / hardship suffered by the concerned members of the class in the State. Specific state, but which may be absent in another state to which the person has migrated “, the judgment noted.
The Court further noted that the decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Supreme Court rejected the assertion that the member of the listed castes / tribes should enjoy the benefit for the purposes of the Constitution throughout the territory of India, noting that if such an assertion were to be accepted, the very expression “in relation to the State” would lose its meaning.
Snapshot is not a migration case
The Court further observes that this is not a case of voluntary or involuntary migration.
“The question which arises for our consideration in these appeals is whether a person, who has resided in the State of Bihar and where the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) / (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 identifying the castes / tribes is enacted extending the benefit for members of the SC / ST throughout the integrated state of Bihar, which was subsequently divided under a statutory instrument, i.e. the 2000 law, in two successor States (State of Bihar and State of Jharkhand) with their rights and privileges to the extent that they are protected by legislation under the provisions of the 2000 law, could still be considered a migrant to the State successor of Jharkhand, depriving them of their privileges and advantages which the holder or their descendants in direct line benefited from the same creation of the presidential ordinance of 1950 in the integrated state of Bihar “, It said.
The bench declared that the collective readings of the provisions of the 2000 Bihar Reorganization Act show that people whose place of origin / domicile at the latest on the fixed day (15 November 2000) was in Bihar now falling under districts The regions which form a successor state, ie Jharkhand under section 3 of the 2000 Act, have become ordinary residents of the state of Jharkhand.
At the same time, with regard to employees who held public employment in Bihar on or before November 15, 2000, with the exception of those who have their domicile in either of the districts which have become a part of Jharkhand, those employees who have exercised their option to serve in Jharkhand, their existing terms of service are protected under section 73 of the 2000 Act.
In this context, the Court said:
“It will be very unfair and pernicious to their interests if the benefits of the reservation with the privileges and benefits that flow from it are not protected in the state of Jharkhand after it was absorbed under Article 73 of the law of 2000 which clearly postulates not only to protect the existing conditions of service but the benefit of the reservation and the privileges which they enjoyed at the latest on the day fixed, that is to say November 15, 2000 in the State of Bihar is not changed to their detriment after joining the service in Jharkhand State “.
The Court stated that in its opinion those employees who are members of the SC / ST / OBC whose caste / tribe has been notified by an amendment to the Constitution (SC) / (ST) Order 1950 or by the notification separate for members of the OBC category, the benefit of the reserve remains protected under article 73 of the 2000 law for all practical purposes that may be claimed (including by their wards) for participation in public employment.
“We are of the opinion that the present appellant Pankaj Kumar, being an employee serving (as an assistant teacher) in the State of Jharkhand under section 73 of the 2000 Act, would be entitled to claim the benefit of the reservation, including the privileges and benefits eligible for members of the category SC in Jharkhand for all practical purposes, including participation in an open competition in search of public employment “, It said.
Appointments, however, maintained for equity
With respect to the other appellants, the Court stated that there is no evidence filed by them on the record to justify how long they resided in the districts which are now part of the successor state of Jharkhand and the 2004 announcement required that one must present a caste certificate issued by the competent authority of the state of Jharkhand and none of them produced the caste certificate. The Court considered them as migrants to the state of Jharkhand, which would prevent them from claiming the benefit of the reservation in view of the judgments of the Constitutional Court.
But the Court took note of the particular facts and circumstances of the case as follows:
- the appellants had applied in good faith in accordance with an advertisement dated January 13, 2004 published by the State of Jharkhand holding a selection for the post of constable;
- this is not the case with referees that either of the appellants made a false declaration while participating in the selection process;
- the caste / tribe / OBC to which either of the appellants belongs is not notified as such in the State of Jharkhand;
- appellants are appointed after following the selection process for 3 to 4 years;
- their services ended in June 2008 and who were never at fault lost nearly 13 years in litigation;
- callers cannot get a job at a later stage.
Therefore, exercising their powers under article 142 of the Constitution, they were ordered to reinstate them.
Case title: Pankaj Kumar v. Jharkhand State
Bench: Judges UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi
Reference: LL 2021 SC 397
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