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Sub categorization of caste UPSC NOTE

 What is sub categorization caste

  • In the last two decades, multiple States like Punjab, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu have tried to bring in reservation laws at the State level.

  • A bid to sub-categorise SCs and decide on a separate quantum of reservation for these subcategories within the umbrella of Scheduled Castes

  • All plans are held up in courts as the Supreme Court forms its larger Constitution Bench to decide the matter.

  • The issue first reached the courts when the Andhra Pradesh government in 1996 formed a one-man Commission of Justice Ramachandra Raju.

  •  Commission recommended sub-categorisation of SCs in the State based on evidence that some communities were more backward and had less representation than others

  • The Constitution has provided that these lists can only be made by Parliament and notified by the President.

Why it is proposed

  • Even as the question of whether SC sub-categorisation can be done is pending with the Supreme Court, the 2004 judgment had pushed the Union government to explore legal options for the same. 

  • It initiated dialogue with the Law Ministry and in 2005, the Attorney-General of India (AGI) had opined that it was possible to sub-categorise SCs.

  • The AGI, at the time, had said that any such classification could be allowed only if there was “unimpeachable evidence to indicate a necessity” for it. 

  • The AGI had added that a constitutional amendment could be brought in to facilitate this.

  • Based on this, the Union government formed a National Commission to look into the question of sub-categorising SCs in Andhra Pradesh.

  • The Cabinet recommended an amendment to Article 341 of the Constitution of India to allow for it. 

  • But both the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) had opined that a constitutional amendment was not necessary

  • They said that Article 16(4) of the Constitution already provided for States to create special laws for any backward classes it felt was under-represented.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • The principal argument for sub-categorisation of SCs has been the graded inequalities among SC communities

  • The thrust of it has been that even among the marginalised, there are communities that have lesser access to basic facilities

  • As a result, the relatively more forward communities among them 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.

  • On the other hand, both the SC and ST Commissions have noted that allotting separate reservations within the categories would not really address the root cause of the problem. 

  • In an internal note prepared by the NCST, it had explained that the most backward SCs are lagging so far behind forward SC communities that a separate quota would not help. 

  • It said that the idea 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. 

  • Both the NCSC and the NCST had thus recommended that existing schemes and government benefits should first reach these sections before any sub-categorization.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Sub categorization of caste UPSC NOTE
Sub categorization of caste UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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