Citation: 1963 AIR 649, 1962 SCR Supl. (1) 439
Bench: Sinha, Bhuvneshwar P.(Cj), Gajendragadkar, P.B., Wanchoo, K.N., Gupta, K.C. Das, Shah, J.C.
An order Mysore government issued under article 15(4) reserved seats for admission to the state medical and engineering colleges. On July 26, 1958 the state issued an order that all the communities excepting the Brahmin community, fell within the classes of educationally and socially backward classes and schedule castes and schedule tribes 75% seats reserved for them. Similar order issued on 14May, 1959, 9 June, 1960, 10 July, 1961, but all of them were aside when challenged. But on July 31, 1962 state of Mysore passed another order which superseded all the previous orders and left only 32% seats for the merit pool. This order was challenged by 23 petitioners by writ petition under article 32. The petitioner said that the classification made by the state was irrational and reservation of 68% was fraud on article 15(4) of the constitution. Petitioner filed the case on high court for this and the earlier.
- Does the exclusion of student from the educational institution on the basis unreasonable reservation criteria which violates article 15(4) of Indian constitution?
- Whether the state has authority to make reservation on the basis of the caste as “background” and “more backward”?
The court declared the order bad on several grounds. The first defect in the Mysore order was it was based solely on caste without the regard to other relevant factors and this was not permissible under article 15(4). Though caste in relation to Hindus could be a relevant factor to consider in determining the social backwardness of a class of citizens, it must not be made the sole and dominant test in behalf. Christians, Jains and Muslims do not believe in caste system and therefore the test of caste could not be applied to them. In as much as identifications of all the backward classes under the impugned order had been made solely on the basis of caste, the order was bad.
In this case Supreme Court held the following:
- Reservation cannot be more than 50%.
- The classification of backward and more backward is invalid.
- Caste cannot be the only criteria because Article 15(4) talks about class and class is not synonymous with caste. So factor such as poverty should be considered.