Sunday, November 08, 2009

NLSIU Reservations Case

I have just come across a fascinating case that was recently decided by the Karnataka High Court (judgment here). The petitioner challenged the admission of certain persons under the quota reserved for the Scheduled Caste category in the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. I have only had an occasion to briefly study the judgment, but I believe the primary contention was that Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 lists different castes and declares them to be Scheduled Caste with regard to the State of Karnataka. In other words, other Scheduled Castes (i.e., from other States) not included in the list would not be Scheduled Castes for the purposes of the State of Karnataka. The petitioner contended that NLSIU is not a national level institution since it was established by a State law. The respondents contended, inter alia, that NLSIU was a national level institution, and that other such institutions like AIIMS followed a similar procedure (of extending reservations for Scheduled Castes and Tribes across the country). The Court has held against NLSIU: "Even if it is to be held that the State has in fact established [NLSIU] as a national level institute, the reservation for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates have to be as per the Presidential Order, 1950 as declared in relation to Karnataka State... it has to be held... [NLSIU] could not have extended reservation to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of other States ignoring the Presidential Order..."
I hope to study the judgment and write a little more in due course. I believe that NLSIU has appealed to a DB of the High Court.

UPDATE: There is another recent judgment on exactly the same issue (Articles 341, 342 of the Constitution, notifications thereof, and whether benefits to SC/ST's can only go to those of a particular state) by the Delhi High Court (Justice Ravindra Bhat).
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