In K. Krishna Murthy (Dr.) and Ors. v. Union of India and Anr.: (2010) 7 SCC 202, the Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992 and the Constitution (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Act, 1992 which had inserted Part IX and Part IX-A to the Constitution thereby contemplating the powers, composition and functions of local self-government institutions i.e., the Panchayats (for rural areas) and Municipalities (for urban areas) were in challenge on the ground of violation of basic structure of constitution.
Supreme Court rejected the challenge while holding that there was no damage to the basic structure and concluded as follows: –
“82. In view of the above, our conclusions are:
(i) The nature and purpose of reservations in the context of local self-government is considerably different from that of higher education and public employment. In this sense, Article 243-D and Article 243-T form a distinct and independent constitutional basis for affirmative action and the principles that have been evolved in relation to the reservation policies enabled by Articles 15(4) and 16(4) cannot be readily applied in the context of local self- government. Even when made, they need not be for a period corresponding to the period of reservation for the purposes of Articles 15(4) and 16(4), but can be much shorter.
(ii) Article 243-D(6) and Article 243-T(6) are constitutionally valid since they are in the nature of provisions which merely enable the State Legislatures to reserve seats and chairperson posts in favour of backward classes. Concerns about disproportionate reservations should be raised by way of specific challenges against the State legislations.
(iii) We are not in a position to examine the claims about over breadth in the quantum of reservations provided for OBCs under the impugned State legislations since there is no contemporaneous empirical data. The onus is on the executive to conduct a rigorous investigation into the patterns of backwardness that act as barriers to political participation which are indeed quite different from the patterns of disadvantages in the matter of access to education and employment.
As we have considered and decided only the constitutional validity of Articles 243-D(6) and 243-T(6), it will be open to the petitioners or any aggrieved party to challenge any State legislation enacted in pursuance of the said constitutional provisions before the High Court. We are of the view that the identification of “backward classes” under Article 243-D(6) and Article 243-T(6) should be distinct from the identification of SEBCs for the purpose of Article 15(4) and that of backward classes for the purpose of Article 16(4).
(iv) The upper ceiling of 50% vertical reservations in favour of SCs/STs/OBCs should not be breached in the context of local self-government. Exceptions can only be made in order to safeguard the interests of the Scheduled Tribes in the matter of their representation in panchayats located in the Scheduled Areas.
(v) The reservation of chairperson posts in the manner contemplated by Articles 243-D(4) and 243-T(4) is constitutionally valid. These chairperson posts cannot be equated with solitary posts in the context of public employment.”