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RESERVATION


BACKGROUND
DEFINITION OF SCs AND STs
RESERVATION IN SERVICES
LIST OF SCs AND STs
HOW MUCH IS THE RESERVATION
BAN ON DE-RESERVATION
STATUS OF RSERVATIONS AS ON 1-1-2002
QUOTA WITHIN QUOTA ABOLISHED
RESERVATION IN PROMOTION-CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY
STATUS ON POST BASED ROASTERS
PRESENT STATUS OF FIVE OMs
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (Marriage/Religion/Conversion etc)



BACKGROUND

Over years, a section of our population living in certain pockets of the country were deprived the benefits of progress of the country as a whole, due to their being primitive in their traits, their geographical isolation, their distinct culture, their shyness to contact with others and their general backwardness. The founding fathers of our Constitution were aware of the problems of the communities which remained backward, and tried to identify them through the castes or tribes, to which they belonged, calling such castes and tribes as Scheduled Castes(SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) and made special provisions for their protection and development by safeguarding promotion of educational and economic interest and protecting them from social injustice and exploitation.


DEFINITION OF SCs AND STs

As per Article 341 and 342 of the Constitution, a person shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, if he/she belongs to a caste or tribe declared as a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, for the area of which he is a resident, in an order issued under the said articles. Under Article 341(1), the President may specify, State/UT wise, by public notifications, the castes, races, tribes or parts of them or groups within them in each State/UT as Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe in that State/UT. Article 341(2) empowers the Parliament to make changes in the list of SCs and STs, notified as per article 341(1).


RESERVATION IN SERVICES

The main objective for providing reservations for SC & ST in civil posts and services of the Government is not just to give jobs to some persons belonging to these communities and thereby increase their representation in the services, (though that constituted an important, immediate aim) but to uplift these people socially and educationally and make some place for them in the society. With these objective reservations in legislatures have also been provided. The Constitution envisages economic and educational development of the weaker sections, particularly the SC and ST, under the Directive Principles of State Policy. The constitutional provisions are given as below:-

  • Article 14 prohibits ‘class legislation’ but not reasonable classification for the purposes of legislation. If the State takes care to reasonably classify persons and if it deals equally with all persons belonging to a ‘well defined’ class, it is not illegal. Such reasonable classification has been upheld by the Supreme Court in many other cases.

  • Article 16(2) prohibits discrimination against any citizen in respect of any employment or office under the State on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them. However, State is permitted to classify persons for legitimate purposes. Such classification must be based upon some real and substantial distinction bearing a permissible and just relation to the object sought to be attained and the classification cannot be made arbitrarily without any substantial basis.

  • Article 16(3) provides an exemption from the prohibition of discrimination in the matter of reservations in favour of backward class citizens.

  • Article 16(4) empowers the State to make provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in respect of backward class citizens not adequately represented in the services under the State, as per the opinion of the State. The Supreme court has held that for the purpose of Article16(4), SCs and STs form a class by themselves due to their social, economic and educational backwardness, (as the classification fulfils the tests of reasonable classification). (Trilokinath Vs. State of J&K (1969) I SCR 103A. 1960 SCI). In Triloki Nath Vs. State of Jammu & Kashmir (1969, I, SCR, 103A, 1960-SCI), the Supreme Court held that for the purposes of Article 16(4), SCs & STs constitute a class by themselves due to their social, educational and economic backwardness. Hence, classifying this group does not violate the tests of reasonable classification.

  • Article 16(4-A) empowers the State to make provision for reservation in matters of promotion and consequential seniority to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of SC and ST, which in the opinion of the State is not adequately represented in the services under the State.

  • Article 46, containing the Directive Principles of State Policy, provides that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular of the SC and ST, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

  • Article 335 says that the claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State. Provided that nothing in this Article shall prevent in making of any provision in favour of the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for relaxation in qualifying marks in any examination or lowering the standards of evaluation, for reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of services or posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.

  • Article 335 read with articles 16(4) and 46 provides reservation for members of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes.


LIST OF SCs AND STs

State/UT wise lists of Castes and Tribes identified as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are given on this web site. The Scheduled Tribes Order must be read as it is. It is not even permissible to say that a tribe, sub-tribe, part of or group of any Tribe or Tribal community is synonymous to the one mentioned in the Scheduled Tribes Order if they are not so specifically mentioned in it. (State of Maharashtra vs. Millind and Others, 2001 SCC (L&S) 117).


HOW MUCH IS THE RESERVATION

a) In Direct Recruitment

Normally the reservation is done in accordance with percentage of SC/ST population to total population at All India level as decided by population Census. Hence after every census the reservation rates are expected to be revised. The 1951 census showed SC and ST population as 15.05% and 6.31% respectively. No revision of reservation percentage was done following the 1951 census as a comprehensive bill revising list of SCs and STs was under consideration, reservations for the posts filled otherwise than open competition was already 16.66% and instructions had been issued for following a regional and local percentage for group C and D posts attracting candidates from a locality or region. The 1961 Census showed the percentages as 14.64% and 6.80% respectively and hence the revision was made on 25-3-70. The 1971 census did not invite any revision. In 1981 and 1991 census all India percentages could not be worked out as Census could not be carried out in Assam in 1981 and Jammu & Kashmir in 1991 and hence there has been no revision of reservation percentages.

b) In Promotion

At present the percentage of reservation are as below:

Mode of appointment Percentage fixed for

SC ST

  1. Direct recruitment on All India basis

    1. By open competition (i.e. through the

UPSC or by means of open competitive

Test held by any other authority). 15% 7-1/2%

(b) Otherwise than at (a) above 16-2/3% 7-1/2%

(ii) Direct recruitment to Group C and Group D In proportion to the

posts normally attracting candidates from a population of SC &

locality or region ST in the respective

States/Union Territories

  1. Posts filled by promotion in grades or services

In which the element of direct recruitment,

If any, does not exceed 75%

    1. Through limited departmental competitive

Examination in Groups B,C & D 15% 7-1/2%

(b) By Selection from Group B to the lowest

rung or category in Group A or Groups

B, C & D 15% 7-1/2%

© On the basis of seniority subject to fitness

in Groups A, B, C & D 15% 7-1/2%

c) Reservations in Public Sector Undertakings, Autonomous Bodies etc.

Public Sector Undertakings, Statutory and semi-Government Bodies, voluntary agencies etc. which are under the control of the Government or are receiving grant-in-aid, from the Government are also required to make reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes in their services on the lines of the reservations in services under the Government.

d) Carry Forward and Exchange

If sufficient number of SC and ST candidates fit for appointment against reserved posts are not available, such vacancies can be de-reserved to be filled by candidates of other communities and the reservations are carried forward to subsequent three recruitment years, except in case of promotion by selection from Group C to Group B, within Group B and from Group B to the lowest rung of Group A where carrying forward of reservation are not permitted. While filling up reserved posts, the oldest carried forward vacancy will be filled up first. Vacancies reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes may be exchanged and filled up by candidates from Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes candidates, in case no suitable candidate from the respective community, for which the vacancy is reserved, is not available. The normal provision is that the exchange is permissible only for the reservations which have been carried forward to third year of recruitment.

d)Reservation in Judiciary

No data is currently available

e)Reservation in Private Sector

No data is currently available

f) Reservation in Lok Sabha

Article 330 provides for reservation in the House of People (Lok Sabha) for SCs & STs. The number of seats reserved in any State/UT bears the same proportion to the total number of seats allotted to that State/UT in the House of People (Lok Sabha) as the population of SC and ST bears with the total population of the State/UT, as per 1991 Census (until the figures of Census 2026 are available).

g) Reservation in State Assemblies

Article 332 provides reservation for SCs and STs in the Legislative portion to the total number of seats in the Assembly as the population of SC and ST bears with the total population of the State, as per 1991 (until the figures of Census 2026 are available)

h) Reservation in Panchayats and Municipal Committees

  • Article 243 D provides for reservation of seats and offices for SC/ST in every Panchayat.

  • Article 243 T provides for reservation of seats and offices for SC/ST in Municipal Corporation.

  • Article 244 & 244A provide for specific provisions for the administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas.

  • Article 164 provides that in the States of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa there shall be a Minister for Tribal Welfare of SCs, who may also be in charge of welfare of SCs, backward classes and any other work.

i) Reservation in some NE States

In the Legislative Assemblies of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya, if on the commencement of the Constitution (57 th Amendment) Act, 1987, they were having all members as STs, they shall continue to have all but one seats reserved for the same proportion as the number of ST members in the existing assembly bears to the total number of seats.

j) Reservation to cease in 2010 In Politics

Article 334 provides reservation in the House of People (Lok Sabha) and Legislative Assemblies in States/U.T. except in the autonomous district of Assam, the reservation shall cease after 60 years from the commencement of the Constitution i.e. on 25 th January 2010. But this will not affect the composition of the House or Legislative Assembly, existing just before completion of 60 years, until that House or Assembly is dissolved. Earlier, the provision of reservation was to cease on 25 th January, 2000. The same was extended to 25-1-2010 by the Constitution (79 th Amendment) Act, 1999.

k) Reservation is Permanent in Services

It is important to note this factual position in contrast to the reservation in politics. There is no provision in the constitution where the reservation to posts and services will cease to exist as in case of politics where it will no longer exist after 2010. Unfortunately, whenever a time extension is granted by the Parliament for continuation of reservation in politics, the SCs and STs erroneously get the impression that the reservation has been extended in services also. It should be known that the reservation in services is permanent. This incorrect understanding of the reservation needs to be explained and clarified to all.

l) Exemptions and Exclusions

Reservation does not apply to-

    1. Cases of transfer on deputation;

    2. Cases of promotion in those grades or services in which the element of direct recruitment, exceeds 75%;

    3. Temporary appointments of less than 45 days;

    4. Work-charged posts required for emergencies like flood-relief work, accident restoration and relief, etc.

    5. Scientific & technical posts satisfying the stipulated criteria.

    6. Single post cadre.

    7. Upgradation of posts as a result of cadre restructuring either en masse or partial.

Ad hoc appointments that are purely stop gap arrangements.


BAN ON DE-RESERVATION

In direct recruitment the present status is as under:

  • Where sufficient number of candidates belonging to SC/ST are not available to fill up the vacancies reserved for them in direct recruitment, the vacancies shall not be filled by candidates not belonging to these communities. In other words, there will be a ban on de-reservation in direct recruitment. (DOPT O.M.No.36012/6/88Estt(SCT) 25-4-1989).

  • In all cases of direct recruitment to fill up vacancies in posts/services in Group A, B, C and D, if sufficient number of suitable SC/ST candidates are not available to fill up vacancies reserved for them in the first attempt of recruitment, then a second attempt shall be made for recruiting suitable candidates belonging to the concerned category in the same recruitment year or as early as possible before the next recruitment to fill up these vacancies. If the required number of SC/ST candidates are not available even then, the vacancies which could not be filled up shall remain unfilled until the next recruitment year. These vacancies will be treated as “Backlog” vacancies.

  • In the subsequent year when recruitment is made for the vacancies of the year (called the current vacancies), the “backlog” vacancies will also be announced for recruitment, keeping the vacancies of particular recruitment year i.e. the current vacancies and the ‘backlog’ vacancies as two distinct groups. While in respect of vacancies for the year of recruitment, the normal instructions relating to calculation of vacancies reserved for SC/ST as well as the instructions that not more than 50% of the vacancies in a cadre could be reserved for SC/ST/OBC will apply, the backlog vacancies will not be subject to 50% criteria.

  • If vacancies reserved for SC/ST can not be filled up and are carried as ‘backlog’ vacancies and remain unfilled for three successive recruitment years, the vacancy earmarked for SC could be filled by ST candidates or vice versa in all subsequent attempts, if suitable candidate belonging to the category for which the vacancy is reserved is not available.

  • Notwithstanding the aforesaid, in rare and exceptional cases of direct recruitment to Group “A” posts where the vacancy cannot be allowed to remain unfilled in public interest, de-reservation of such reserved vacancies may be permitted with the approval of the Cabinet Minister in charge of the administrative Ministry, on the recommendation of the Board of Directors.

In Promotion the status is as under:

  1. When SC and ST candidates are not available or eligible for promotion in the feeder cadre(s).

  2. The proposal for dereservation, in the appropriate prescribed proforma, is sent for information immediately to (i) the National Commission for SCs and STs and (ii) to the Department of Personnel and Training.

  3. The proposal for dereservation should have concurrence of the Liaison Officers of the Minister/Department.

  4. The delegated powers of dereservation, a copy of the proposal in the prescribed proforma should be sent to the Department of Personnel & Training and the Commissioner for SCs and STs (Presently the National Commission for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes) by the administrative Ministry/Department concerned and not by any attached and sub-ordinate officers.

The Minister/Department concerned should wait for a period of at least 2 weeks for comments of the Department of Personnel & Training as well as the National Commission for SCs and STs, if any, before the reserved vacancies are de-reserved by them, in relation to the above provisions, who have been issued (vide D.O.P. & A.R. O.M. No.36011/25/79-Estt.(SCT) dated 16-11-79 and No.36011/5/81-Estt.(SCT).


STATUS OF RSERVATIONS AS ON 1-1-2002

Department of Personnel and Training have furnished information regarding representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the services of all Ministries/Departments of Govt of India, (including information in respect of attached and subordinate offices) as on1-1-2002 as below:

In Government Of India Ministries/ Departments/attached/subordinate Offices ( Source: Department of Personnel and Training)

GROUP

TOTAL

SC

%

ST

%

A

99009

10983

11.09

3928

3.97

B

187033

26336

14.08

7811

4.18

C

2141879

345358

16.12

127064

5.93

D

(Excluding sweepers)

953300

191356

20.07

67949

7.13

Sweepers

118601

77354

65.22

7361

6.21

Total

(Excluding Sweepers)

3381221

574033

16.98

206752

6.11

Total

(Including Sweepers)

3499822

651387

18.61

214113

6.12

It may be seen from the above table that representation of Scheduled Castes has not reached the prescribed level in group A and B services. As far as Scheduled Tribes are concerned the percentage is far below the prescribed limit in group A&B.and is still lagging behind in group C&D.

In Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs, as on 1-1-2000) .

(Source: 6 th Report of National Commission for SCs and STs for year 2000-01 page 183)

Group

Total

SC

%age

ST

%age

A

204127

21125

10.35

6057

2.97

B

175159

19355

11.05

7317

4.18

C

1013917

191931

18.93

85744

8.46

D

407425

91729

22.51

46463

11.40

Safai Karamchari

27903

20412

73.15

878

3.15


QUOTA WITHIN QUOTA ABOLISHED

The Supreme Court has held in November 2004 that the micro-classification of Scheduled Castes into sub-groups and fixing different percentages of reservation for them within the overall Scheduled Caste quota was unconstitutional. A five-judge Constitution Bench said that reservation must be considered from the social objective angle, having regard to the Constitutional scheme, and not as a political issue. "Thus, adequate representation must be given to members of the Scheduled Castes as a group and not to two or more groups of persons or members of castes," it said. Given that the members of the Scheduled Castes were the most backward among the backward classes, it was not permissible for the Government to further classify them into sub-groups, the Bench said. The bench quashed legislation enacted by the Andhra Pradesh Government splitting the quota in government jobs for Scheduled Castes among their four sub-groups. Setting side a five-judge Bench judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court upholding the constitutional validity of the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes (Rationalisation of Reservation) Act, the Supreme Court Bench held that such micro-classification was violative of the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution. The judges said: "Such classification of the members of different classes of people based on their respective castes would be violative of the doctrine of reasonableness." The Bench noted that "Article 341of the Constitution provides that exclusion of even of a part or group of castes from the Presidential List can be done only by Parliament. State Legislatures are forbidden from doing that." The ordinance and later the Act was beyond the legislative competence of the State Government, it held. "A uniform yardstick must be adopted for giving benefits to the members of the Scheduled Castes for the purpose of the Constitution. The impugned legislation being contrary to the above Constitutional scheme, cannot, therefore, be sustained," the Bench held.

The Andhra Pradesh Government had enacted legislation categorizing the Scheduled castes into four groups A, B, C and D for the purpose of admission to educational institutions and for employment, after considering the report of a Commission appointed by the State. Some other states like Haryana and Punjab had also categorized Scheduled castes in ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories. With the final decision of the Supreme Court all such legislations stand quashed.


RESERVATION IN PROMOTION-CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney’s case held it to be unconstitutional but permitted the reservation, for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to continue for a period of fie years from 16-11-92. Consequent to this, the Constitution was amended by the Constitution (Seventy-seventh Amendment) Act, 1995 and Article 16(4A) was incorporated. This Article enables the State to provide for reservation, in matters of promotions, in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which in the opinion of the State are not adequately represented in the services under the State. In pursuance of Article 16(4A), it has been decided to continue the reservation in promotions, as at present, for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in the services/posts under the Central Government beyond 15-11-1997 till such time as the representation of each of the above two categories in each cadre reaches the prescribed percentages of reservations. Thereafter, the reservation in promotions shall continue to maintain the representation to the extent of the prescribed percentages for the respective categories. For determining the number of posts to be reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions, a separate roster on the lines prescribed by the Government in Annexure III of O.M. No.36012/2/96-Estt.(Res.), dated 2-7-1997 should be followed.


STATUS ON POST BASED ROASTERS

DoPt O.M.No.36012/2/96-EStt.(Res) dated 2-7-1997

  1. To give proper effect to the percentages of reservation prescribed by the Govt. of India for SCs, STs and OBCs every appointing authority shall treat the vacancies as reserved or unreserved according to the respective reservation rosters.

  2. Initially the vacancy-based rosters were prescribed in order to implement the Govt. Policy on reservation of jobs for the SCs, STs and the OBCs. Each vacancy was treated or unreserved as per the roster point on which it fell.

  3. The application of the percentages of reservation through the vacancy-based roster was called into question before courts. The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of R.K. Sabharwal Vs. State of Punjab as well as J.C. Malik vs. Ministry of Railways held in 1995 that the reservation of jobs for the backward classes i.e. SC, ST and OBC should apply to posts and not to vacancies.

Accordingly, the vacancy-based rosters were replaced by the Govt. of India by post based rosters with effect from 2-7-1997:

  1. Recruitment made on all India basis by open/written competitive examination in the 200-point roster (refer DOPT Order no.36012/2/96-Estt(Res.) dated 2 nd July, 1997).

  2. Recruitment made on all India basis otherwise than by open/written competitive examination in the 120 point roster (refer DoPt Order No. 36012/2/96-Estt(Res.) dated 2 nd July, 1997).

  3. Recruitment to Group ‘C’and ‘D’ posts attracting candidates form a locality or region through Employment Exchange according to 100 point roster (refer DoPt Order No. 36012/2/96-Estt(Res.) dated 2 nd July, 1997).

  4. Posts filled by promotions to which reservation orders apply, in the 200-point roster (refer DoPt Order No. 36012/2/96-Estt(Res.) dated 2 nd July, 1997).


PRESENT STATUS OF FIVE OMs

  1. The Office Memorandum No.20011/1/96-Estt(D) dated January 30 th 1997 stipulated that if an SC/ST candidate is promoted earlier by virtue of rule of reservation roster than his senior general/OBC candidate, and the senior general OBC candidate is promoted later to the said higher grade, the latter regains his seniority over such earlier promoted SC/ST candidate. By the catch up principle with a junior SC/ST employee in the immediate higher grade, the former regains his original seniority over the latter.

The OM has been issued in view of the Supreme Court Judgement in Virpal Singh Chauhan and Ajit Singh-Ist that promotion consequential seniority. A five judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in its judgement dated 16-9-99, in the case of Ajit Singh-II has since re-affirmed the earlier judgement. To erase the adverse effects of the OM dated 30-1-97 on the interests of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, the 85 th Amendment has been made to the Constitution and orders removing the adverse effects of the OM on SCs/STs have been issued vide OM dated 21-1-2002.

  1. The Office Memorandum No.36012/2/96-EStt(Res) dated 2 nd July, 1997 stipulated that reservation has to be related to posts and not to vacancies. Accordingly, instructions have been issued to replace vacancy-based rosters by post-based rosters.

The OM has been issued in view of the Supreme Court Judgment in R.K. Sabharwal’s case, that was delivered on 10-2-1995, Judgement of the Supreme Court, dated 16-9-1999, in the case of Ajit Singh-II, also has a bearing on the Sabharwal Judgement. As per this decision, the Judgement in the Sabharwal case has to be implemented with effect from 10-2-1995, i.e. the date of the Sabharwal Judgement, and not from 2-7-1997, i.e. the date of the O.M.

The Ajit Singh-II judgment, therefore, has warranted further review of the OM dated 2 nd July, 1997.

  1. The Office Memorandum No.36012/18/95-Estt(Res) dated 22nd July, 1997 withdrew the relaxation in qualifying marks/standards of evaluation which were available to SCs/STs in matters of promotion. This OM was based on the Supreme Court Judgement dated 1-10-1996 in the case of S. Vinod Kumar versus Union of India, which had reiterated the 9 Judge Constitution Bench Judgement dated 16-11-1992 of the Supreme Court in the case of Indira Sawhney versus Union of India. To enable the State to restore the previous position, 82 nd Amendment to the Constitution has been made whereby a proviso to Article 335 of the Constitution has been incorporated to provide for relaxation in qualifying marks and standards of evaluation in matters of reservation in promotion for SCs/STs. Instructions have been issued through OM No.36012/28/96-Estt.(Res. Vol-II) dated 3 rd October, 2000 restoring the relaxations and concessions in the matter of promotion to the SCs and STs.

  1. The OM No.26012/5/97-Estt.(Res.) dated 29 th August 1997 stipulated that more than 50% vacancies, including the backlog vacancies, could be reserved in a year. The backlog vacancies were not to be treated as a separate distinct group. This OM was based on the judgement dated 16-11-1992 of the Supreme Court in the case of Indira Sawhney versus Union of India. To remove adverse effects of OM dated 29-8-1997 81 st Amendment was made to the Constitution which incorporated Article 16 (4B) in the Constitution according to which the ceiling of 50% for filling up of reserved vacancies for SCs/STs of earlier years would not be imposed and these vacancies would be treated as a separate and distinct group. OM No.36012/5/97 Estt(Res.)Vol.II dated 20 th July 2000 has been issued to remove adverse effects of OM dated 29-8-1997. The OM states that All Ministries/Departments are to carry out a review for early assessment of the backlog vacancies in respect of SCs/STs by way of direct recruitment and promotion and make concerted efforts to fill up the backlog vacancies.

  1. The OM No.36012/18/95-Estt.(Res.)Part.II dated 13 th August, 1997 was issued in pursuance of Article 16 (4A) of the Constitution which stipulates continuance of reservation in promotion for SC/ST employees beyond 15-11-1997. Without this OM reservation in promotion would have ceased to exist after 15-11-97 in terms of the Supreme Court Judgement in Indira Sawhney’s case. However, matter about challenging validity of Article 16 (4A) and another praying for reservation within Group A Posts are presently pending before the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in respect of SCs/STs both by way of direct recruitment and promotion.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Caste /tribes Are Area Specific

Do you know that SCs/STs are state/UT/area specific? The inter-State area restrictions have been imposed so that the people belonging to the specific community residing in a specific area, which has been assessed to qualify the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes status only benefit from the facilities provided for them. Since the people belonging to the same caste but living in different States/Union Territories may not necessarily suffer from the same disabilities, it is possible that two persons belonging to the same caste but residing in different States/U.Ts may not both be treated to belong to SC/ST or vice versa. Thus the residence of a particular person in a particular locality assumes a special significance. This residence signifies the permanent residence of a person on the date of notification of the Presidential order scheduling his caste/tribe in relation to that locality. Hence, the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes are to be treated as such for getting the benefits of reservation in employment only in the State/Union Territory where they are so declared and not elsewhere. (D.S. Bansu vs. Union of India & Ors. O.A.No.466 of 1992, decided on 8-1-1993 (CAT-Ahmedabad). The fallout of this provision may be seen in these examples. The children born to SC/ST parents and residing in the area will automatically belong to SC/ST. If an SC/ST person migrates within the State concerned, he will continue to belong to SC/ST. If an SC/ST person migrates outside the State, he will be treated an SC/ST only in the State to which he originally belonged and not in State he has migrated to. For claiming as belonging to SC/ST, the permanent place of abode of the person at the time of presidential orders declaring his Caste/Tribe as Scheduled has to be taken into consideration. Another example is where a SC or ST in relation to State ‘A’ migrates to State ‘B’ where a Caste or Tribe with the same nomenclature is specified for the purpose of the
Constitution to be a SC/ST in relation to that State ‘B’, that person will not be entitled to claim the privileges and benefits admissible to persons belonging to SC/ST in State ‘B’. (Sivachanmugavelon and Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. O.A.Nos.199 and 214 of 1996 decided on 5-11-1996 (CAT-Madras).

However, for appointments under Central Government , for the reserved posts, there is no restriction with regard to origin or migration from one state to another. Any person with a valid caste certificate issued by any State/UT and staying in any place in India, can apply against reserved posts in Central Government. (Narender vs. UT of Chandigarh & another, OA No.203/HR/2002 Chandigarh, 29-1-1003). Hence, SC / ST person on migration from the state of his own origin to another state will not lose his status as SC / ST, but will be entitled to the concessions / benefits admissible to the SC/ ST persons, under the central Government. (Dept Of Telcome, Letter No-1-13/92-SCT, Dt. 18/31.8.1992.)

Caste and Religion

A person professing Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist religion shall only be deemed to be a member of Scheduled Castes. There is, however, no religious bar for being treated as Scheduled Tribe.

Caste and Marriage

A non-SC/ST person will not be deemed to belong to SC/ST simply because he has married an SC/ST. An SC/ST person would continue to be an SC/ST person even after marriage to a non SC/ST person. A person born in a forward caste family cannot be declared to be entitled to the benefits of a SC on the basis of her marriage to a person belonging to SC. (State of Tripura & Ors. Vs. Smt. Namita Majumdar (Barman) 1998 SCC (L&S) 526). By marriage, a change of community of a person does not take place and such a person would not be eligible for the purpose of reservation. A person cannot become a member of the backward community by choice. (Valasamma Paul vs. Rani George & Ors. 1995 (2) SLJ (Kerala) 81 and Smt. Ranu Koch Vs. Union of India & Anr. O.A.No.31 (G) of 1990 decided on 18-9-1995 (CAT-Guwahati). The guiding principle is that no person who was not a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe by birth will be deemed to be a member of Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe merely because he or she had married a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe. Similarly a person who is a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe would continue to be a member of that Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe as the case may be, even after his or her marriage with a person who does not belong to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.

Caste and Conversion and Re-conversion

It may be noticed that if an SC person gets converted to a religion other than Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist, he will no longer belong to SC. But if he/his descendants get reconverted to Hindu/Sikh/Buddhist he will be an SC if only he is accepted by the particular caste as one among them. A person converting to Christnity, Muslim, Parsi or any other religion shall cease to be a member of SC and will not be entitled to facilities/benefits/reservations available to SCs in India. On reconversion to Hinduism, a person can once again become a member of the caste in which he was born and to which he belonged before conversion to another religion, if the members of the caste accept him as a member. When a person is reconverted to Hinduism, the social and economic disabilities once again revive and become attached to him because these are disabilities inflicted by Hinduism. (C.M. Arumugham vs. S. Rajagopal AIR 1976 SC 939 and A. Paul Raj vs. Union of India and others, O.A. No. 982 of 1991 decided on 16-9-1993 (CAT-Madras).

Caste and Adoption

A person duly adopted by an SC, in accordance with law, customs and usage prevalent for long periods, will belong to SC.

Caste and children

Children born to parents, one being SC another being non SC, is not automatically entitled to SC status. Generally, if only the child is accepted by the persons of the Caste as belonging to their community and has been brought up in that community, the child will belong to SC.

Caste/Tribe Certificate

Any person claiming to be belonging to SC/ST has to produce a certificate from the appropriate authority in support of his claim to make him eligible for the benefits/concession meant for SC/ST. An SC employee, though in possession of a caste certificate, may still be required to prove that he belongs to the SC specified in the Presidential Notification in relation to the State to which he belongs and was born. (G.Sundarsan vs. Union of India & Anr. SLP© No.12376 of 1995, decided on 12-7-1995 (SC).




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