Sub-Categorisation among SCs

Sub-Categorisation among SCs

News: In response to the demand for sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes (SCs) by the Madiga community, the Union government has established a five-member committee of to examine and devise a method for the fair allocation of benefits, schemes, and initiatives among the diverse SC communities nationwide.

Background:
• In the present, a seven-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, is set to hear the case on sub-categorization among SCs.
• The key issue is whether states have the power to create sub-classifications or if this power is exclusively vested in the President.

What is Sub-categorisation?
• Sub-categorisation of SCs aims to address the intra-group disparities by creating smaller groups based on socio-economic and educational indicators. The goal is to ensure a more equitable distribution of reservation benefits among SCs.
• The concept of sub-categorisation has sparked debate due to its complexities and potential challenges. It involves redefining and restructuring the existing reservation system, which has both supporters and critics.

Legal and Political Developments
• Supreme Court Rulings: The Supreme Court has upheld the legality of sub-categorisation within SCs, provided it is based on quantifiable data and serves a legitimate purpose.
• State-Level Implementation: Several states, including Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Haryana, have implemented sub-categorisation, showcasing the varied approaches at the state level.
• Central Government\'s Stance: The central government has been cautious, setting up committees to examine the issue but has not yet implemented nationwide sub-categorisation, reflecting the need for a comprehensive and considered approach.

Arguments for Sub-categorisation
• Graded Inequalities: The principal argument for sub-categorisation of SCs is the graded inequalities among SC communities. Even among the marginalised, there are communities that have lesser access to basic facilities.
• Equitable Distribution of Benefits: The relatively more forward communities among SCs have managed to avail benefits consistently while crowding the more backward ones out. The solution, therefore, is to sub-categorise the communities and provide separate reservation to the more backward communities within the reservation meant for SCs.

Arguments against:
• Doesn’t Address Root Cause: Allotting separate reservations within the categories would not really address the root cause of the problem.
• Representation at All Levels: The idea behind sub-categorisation was to ensure representation at all levels. But given the disparity, even if posts were reserved at higher levels, these most backward SCs would not have enough candidates to be considered for it in the first place.
• Need for Concrete Data: Legal experts have pointed out the necessity to have concrete data to support sub-categorisation. They present the case of a caste census of each community and sub-community and their respective socio-economic data.
• Violation of Right to Equality: The Supreme Court held that the sub-classification would violate the right to equality by treating communities within this category differently and said that the SC list must be treated as a single, homogenous group.
• Prevailing Social Backwardness: Considering the prevailing social backwardness of SCs as a result of varied forms of discrimination, the sub-classification is invalid.

Conclusion
• The legal debate involves considerations of equality, historical discrimination, and the need for equitable distribution of reservation benefits among different SC communities.
• Observations of SC and subsequent outcome of the case will have implications for various SC communities across states that may seek sub-categorization for better representation and access to benefits. 

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