(23-08-2020 to 30-08-2020)
STATES CAN SUB CLASSIFY RESERVED CASTES: SC
(STATE OF PUNJAB V. DAVINDER SINGH & ORS)
A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that states can sub-classify Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes in the reservation list to provide preferential treatment to the “weakest of the weak”.
The bench consisted of: Justice Arun mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet saran, M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose expressed the view that the state government has the power to make reservations, also has power to make sub-classification which will not amount to tinkering with the Presidential list of castes. With this, the bench took a contrary view to a 2004 judgement delivered by another coordinate bench of five-judges in EV CHINNAIAH V. STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH which held “all the castes in the Presidential order under Article 341(1) of the constitution formed one class of homogenous group and the same could not be further divided and make a class within a class of members of the Scheduled Caste would amount to tinkering with the Presidential List”.
In this case(State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh), the batch of appeals arise from a Punjab and Haryana High Court Judgement which struck down Section 4(5) of the Punjab scheduled castes and backward classes(Reservation in services) Act, 2006 provided that 50% of the vacancies of the quota reserved for SCs in direct recruitment, shall be offered to Balmikis and Mazhbi Sikhs, if available, as a first preference from amongst the Scheduled Castes. However, the Supreme Court overruled this P&H High court judgement.
Now the issue has been referred to a seven-judge bench because two numerically equal Benches of judges hold contrary viewpoints.
STATES MAY APPROACH TO UGC FOR EXTENSION OF EXAM DEADLINE: SC
(PRANEETH KV UGC V. BATCH PLEAS)
A three judge Bench, led by justice Ashok Bhushan, upheld the power of a state and its disaster management authority to countermand the revised UGC guidelines of july 6 to conduct the final year and terminal semester examinations by September 30.
The court said, ” states are empowered under the Disaster Management Act to override the UGC guidelines in order to protect human lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic”. However, the court held the powers of state under the Disaster Management Act do not extend to promoting students on the only basis of their internal assessment without taking exams. The bench held the guidelines, which were based on the recommendations of the R.C.Kuhad Expert Committee, are in the interest of final year students and did not discriminate against them by compelling them to take exams while their juniors were promoted on their internal assessment marks. Besides, the bench said, states and universities cannot dismiss UGC guidelines as being merely advisory. They were necessary for the ‘determination of standards in institutions of higher education’.
SC REFUSES PERMISSION TO HOLD MUHARRAM PROCESSION
(SYED KALBE JAVED V UOI)
The Supreme Court declined to grant permission for muharram procession across the country, and said it did not want a situation where “a whole community may be targeted for spreading” the coronavirus and said if it grants relief for the whole country,”there will be chaos.” The bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said, the cases related to jagannath puri temple and jain temple were different since there were”identifiable areas of access”. In the case of Puri, the bench said,”it was in one place and one set route. We could access the risk and pass the order for only puri” and pointed out that it had not granted permission for the Ganesh festival congregation.
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR TRANSGENDER PERSONS
In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 16 of the Transgender Persons(protection of rights) Act, 2019, the Central Government has constituted a National Council for Transgender Persons. The Council is to be headed by the Union Social Justice Minister. It comprises members from 10 central departments, members from the community and central department. The council is formed under Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
The council has five main functions:
- Advising the central government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons;
- Monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons;
- Reviewing and coordinating the activities of all the departments;
- Redressing grievances of transgender persons; and
- Performing such other functions as prescribed by the Centre.
PANDEMIC NOT A GROUND TO POSTPONE ELECTIONS: SC
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed two pleas seeking a direction to the Chief Election Commissioner for the postponement of the impending Bihar Assembly Elections on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and the State being ravaged due to floods. The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah declined to entertain the petition, terming it as “premature” and “misconceived”. The Petitioner argued before the Court that the Representation of People Act, 1951 allowed for elections to be deferred due to extraordinary situations. He further submitted, “Election was not paramount; human life is paramount. Even MLAs are dying and people are suffering.” However, the Bench was not inclined to allow the plea and informed the Counsel that such orders could not be passed, and that it was for the ECI to decide.