Pan-India reservation rule applies to Delhi: Supreme Court

Quota is State-specific, says court.

Reservation is State-specific, but Delhi is a ‘miniature India’ where the “pan-India reservation rule” applies, the Supreme Court held on Thursday.

A five-judge Constitution Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi unanimously held that “a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste in one State cannot be deemed to be a Scheduled Caste person in relation to any other State to which he migrates for the purpose of employment or education.”

“The benefits of reservation provided for by the Constitution would stand confined to the geographical territories of a State/Union Territory in respect of which the lists of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes have been notified by the Presidential Orders issued from time to time,” Justice Gogoi, who spoke for the Bench, wrote in the main judgment.

The other members of the Bench were Justices N.V. Ramana, R. Banumathi, M.M. Shantanagoudar and S. Abdul Nazeer.

Dissenting opinion

But Justice Banumathi, in a separate opinion, dissented with the majority opinion on the point that the pan-India reservation rule for Delhi was “fully in accord with the constitutional structure of a federal polity.”

Justice Banumathi said the very object of the constitutional scheme of upliftment of the SCs/STs of these Union Territories would be defeated if pan-India reservation is allowed in Union Territories like Delhi.

However, Justice Banumathi agreed that reservation should be State-specific.

The Constitution Bench was answering a reference made to it in Bir Singh versus Delhi Jal Board, a 2013 case, on the legal question whether a Scheduled Caste person from a State would be accorded the same concessions in employment in another State.

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