The Supreme Court Thursday held that its 2004 verdict holding that states do not have the power to further sub-classify the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, for grant of quotas in jobs and admissions to educational institutions, needs to be revisited.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said the 2004 verdict of a constitution bench in the E V Chinnaiah case needs to be reconsidered and, therefore, the matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India for appropriate direction.
The bench, also comprising Justices Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M R Shah and Aniruddha Bose, said in its view the 2004 verdict was not correctly decided and states can make laws to give preferential treatment by subclassifying caste within SC/STs.
The bench referred the case filed by the Punjab government against the high court order before CJI Justice S A Bobde for setting up of a larger bench to revisit the earlier verdict.
The Punjab and Haryana high court had struck down a state law empowering the government to sub-classify SC/STs for grant of quotas.
The high court had relied on the 2004 verdict of the apex court and held that the Punjab government was not empowered to undertake the exercise of sub classifying SC/STs.