Kochi (Kerala) [India], August 7 (ANI): Kerala High Court has stayed the State Government's order to include Christian Nadars in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category.
The Court stayed the order of state government which was issued on February 6, 2021, stating that Nadars in the State belonging to Christian religious denominations other than SIUC (South Indian United Church) are included in the OBC category for the purpose of providing employment and educational benefits.
The Single Bench of Justice PB Suresh Kumar stated in the order, "it was noticed by the Supreme Court in the Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil case that steps have not been taken to specify the socially and educationally backward classes in relation to the States despite lapse of considerable time after the 102nd Amendment to the Constitution. It was held by the Supreme Court, therefore, that the President should, after due consultation with the Commission set up under Article 338-B, publish a comprehensive list of socially and educationally backward classes in relation to the States and Union Territories as provided for in Article 342-A expeditiously."
The Supreme Court's judgment revealed, "....the direction in the judgment that lists of socially and educationally backward classes operating in the States would continue to hold the field till the President publishes the comprehensive list, which was issued having regard to the drastic consequences that would follow if it is held that all State lists would cease to operate in the light of Article 342-A."
In other words, the direction aforesaid has been issued by the Apex court with a view to ensure that Article 342-A does not leave a vacuum with respect to the entitlement of socially and educationally backward classes to claim benefits under Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution till the President specifies the socially and educationally backward classes.
"I am fortified in this view also for the reason that the said direction is the one issued for invoking the power under Article 142 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has clarified time and again that the power under Article 142 of the Constitution is one to be exercised consistent with the statutory provisions and the provisions of the Constitution and it is a power conferred on the Supreme Court to supplement the provisions in the Statutes and the Constitution and not to supplant them", Kerala Court said while staying the order.
The clarification made by the Supreme Court in paragraph 670 of the judgement in Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil and the direction in clause 5 (vii) of the concluding paragraph of the majority judgement in the said case, according to me, is not intended to save the additions made to the lists of socially and educationally backward classes operating in the States after the 102nd amendment of the Constitution, which are unconstitutional, till the President specifies the socially and educationally backward classes. The petitioners have, therefore, made out a prima facie case for an interim order.
"The order, in the circumstances, will remain stayed," read the order copy.
Petition seeking to stay the order of the State Government was submitted by Kuttappan Chettiar and Akshay S Chandran. The petition stated that, "in the light of the provision contained in Article 342-A introduced to the Constitution in terms of the 102nd Amendment with effect from 15th August 2018, the State Government is denuded of the power to specify any class of persons as socially and educationally backward for the purposes of the Constitution."
"In the light of the said constitutional amendment, it is for the President to make such specifications and the order is, therefore, unconstitutional, being violative of Article 342-A," the petition said. (ANI)