The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the issue of law as to whether 100 per cent reservation in the appointment of teachers could be made in favour of Scheduled Tribes in schools in scheduled areas.
The five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was hearing arguments on whether 100 per cent reservation can be given to teachers belonging to Schedule Tribes in schools in the scheduled area and whether such reservation was ultra vires the basic structure of the Constitution or not. The issue reached the apex court after the appeal was filed against a court judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court that upheld a government order which provided for 100 per cent reservation for tribals.
The apex court then referred the matter to the Constitution Bench to decide the issue. The bench will also consider the scope of paragraph 5 (1), Schedule V -- whether the exercise of the power conferred therein could override fundamental rights, does the power extend to subordinate legislation, and does the provision empower the Governor to make a new law.
During the hearing of arguments, senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for Andhra Pradesh contended that appeal should be dismissed, or in the alternative, the appointments which have already been made not be reversed.
Andhra Pradesh had created about 1,500 posts of primary school teachers under the control of the Zila Parishad or Mandal Parishad in villages where there were no schools and the Governor with a notification provided for 100 per cent reservation of such posts for Scheduled Tribes saying the object was to increase the literacy in scheduled areas.
The Governor order had stated that increased literacy rate could be achieved by ensuring the presence of a teacher in every school there. The State Administrative Tribunal quashed the Governor order, however, the High Court had upheld it and an appeal was filed in the apex court against High Court judgment contending that verdict was contrary to the basic structure of the Constitution.
Chebrolu Leela Prasad had filed the appeal against the High Court order contending that the Governor order was discriminatory as it affected not only the open category candidates but also other reserved category candidates and reservation under Article 16 (4) should not exceed 50 per cent. It was argued that the provision of reservation for only one local Scheduled Tribe violate the concept of reservation and sought the quashing of the judgment. (ANI)