SC sparks debate by depriving states of power to identify backward classes

“There will only be one list of socially and educationally backward classes, which may be issued by the President,” the bench ruled.

Published: 07th May 2021 07:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th May 2021 07:58 AM   |  A+A-

Quota, reservation

Representational Image. (File | EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  In striking down the Maharashtra law granting reservation to the Maratha community in education and government jobs in the state, the Supreme Court has sparked a new debate: If states don’t have the power to identify socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs) on the ground then will the Centre be able to do justice?

The court has ruled that, henceforth, there will only be a single list of socially and educationally backward classes with respect to each State and Union Territory notified by the President of India, and that States can only make recommendations for inclusion or exclusion, with any subsequent change to be made only by Parliament.

A constitution bench on Wednesday had clarified that after the 102nd Constitutional amendment, state governments do not have the power to identify socially and educationally backward classes and has laid the groundwork for new SEBC list for all states and union territories (UTs) to be notified by the President.
The 102nd amendment gives constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes. Article 338B deals with the structure, duties and powers of the commission while 342A gives the President the power to notify a class as SEBC and the power of Parliament to alter the central SEBC list.

The court in its verdict held that the President should expeditiously publish list of SEBCs for different states and UTs, under Article 342A, after consultation with the commission set up under Article 338B and only till the time this is done that the SEBC lists made by the states would continue to hold the field. 

The three judges opined that Article 342A makes it clear that the President, after consultation with the Governor of a state or UT, may issue a public notification specifying socially and educationally backward classes.  “There will only be one list of socially and educationally backward classes, which may be issued by the President,” the bench ruled.

But, it clarified that the power on the extent of reservations, the kind of benefits, the quantum of scholarships, the number of schools which are to be specially provided under Article 15(4) can all be achieved by the State through its legislative and executive powers.

  • The project which was announced in September last year, envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, that is targeted to be constructed by August, 2022 when the country will be celebrating its 75th Independence Day
  • Termed a vanity project by critics, the Centra Vista redevelopment required 400 ancient trees to be uprooted, as per media reports
  • Others have questioned the wisdom of continuing with the project in the midst of a ranging pandemic
  • The cost of the project runs to thousands of crores
  • The 3-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate will be revamped, and many government buildings in the area will be demolished


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp