Excerpts: Sadashiva Commission report on SC sub-quotas in K’taka

The AJ Sadashiva Commission of Enquiry examined the issue of internal reservations among SCs. Demands for the report’s acceptance and implementation are a hot button issue in the Assembly elections

We present here exclusive excerpts from the report submitted by Justice AJ Sadashiva Commission of Enquiry, which looked into inequitable distribution of reservation benefits among Dalits in Karnataka. The commission was constituted in September of 2005 by the Dharam Singh-led Karnataka government, and it submitted its final report in June 2012. It is not publically available.

The need for this enquiry arose when demographically dominant Dalit groups demanded that there be an equitable distribution among Dalits of Constitutionally-mandated reservation benefits in education and employment. Their primary charge was, and is, that politically dominant Dalit groups have for decades unjustly walked away with a bigger share of the benefits. Therefore, the Justice Sadashiva Commission was tasked to look into inequitable distribution of reservation benefits among various Scheduled Castes (SCs) in Karnataka, 101 castes to be precise. It was also asked to make specific recommendations to correct the injustice, if any.

However, ever since the report was submitted in June 2012, successive governments have been ambivalent about accepting it. Given the huge political ramifications accompanying the acceptance of a report of this nature, it is but natural that people in power are dithering about it.

Now, in Karnataka election season, demands for the report’s acceptance and implementation have once again rent the air. Recently, select Dalit groups had a black flag demonstration in North Karnataka when Congress president Rahul Gandhi was on a four-day tour. In the past few months, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also been repeatedly petitioned in this regard.

The report, running to 368 pages, unravels the stratification among various Dalit castes and the socio-cultural complexity involved in their reconciliation.

There are broadly four categorizations among the 101 castes listed as SCs in Karnataka: Edagai (Left), Balagai (Right), Touchables and others. Each of these categories have a specific set of demands. Largely, the Left Dalits feel that they constitute 60 to 70 % (the report finds this an exaggeration) of the Dalit population, and hence deserve a greater share of the reservation pie. The Right Dalits argue strongly for the exclusion of Touchable Dalits, and demand that the ratio of reservation should go up from the existing 15 % to 30 %. One section of Touchable Dalits are altogether opposed to the ‘categorisation’ of Dalits, while a few other groups welcome it.

Politically speaking, the Dalits have been with the Congress in the past, but in the last couple of elections a sizable section of Left Dalits have shown preference for the BJP. They have alleged that Right Dalits have cornered power within the Congress. Whatever may be the claims and counter claims, the excerpts here are an insight and education into the Dalit question in Karnataka.

It may be relevant to mention here that the Andhra Pradesh government had constituted a similar commission for categorization of Dalits, which was accepted by the government but finally struck down by the Supreme Court. However, this report presents its own raison d'être and endeavours to negotiate Constitutional pitfalls.



Excerpts from the report

7.3. CATEGORIZATION
In view of the demands made by various castes of Scheduled Castes and in the light of the data collected by the Commission by way of survey of all families of Scheduled Castes the first point that arises for consideration of the Commission is, is it advisable to consider the categorization of Scheduled Castes into groups and distribution of reservation benefits among Scheduled Castes in proportion to the population of each group with reference to the total population of the Scheduled Castes in the State.

At this juncture it is not inappropriate to remind us of the statement of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar the ‘Modern Manu’ in the words of Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer. Addressing the Constituent Assembly, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar revealed his dreams as to what should be done to retain democracy in the following words.

“We must begin by acknowledging the fact that there is complete absence of two things in Indian society, one of these is equality on the social plane. We have in India a society based on privilege of graded inequality which means elevation for some and degradation of others. On the economic plane, we have a society in which there are some who have immense wealth as against the many who are living in abject poverty. On the 26th January, 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will recognize in the principle of one man and one vote and one vote one value. In our social economic life we shall, by reasons of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment, or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up”.

7.3.1. By our inaction and failure to secure justice and equality- social and economic – millions of people of this county have reached the border of destruction. One such cause is the dissatisfaction and disaffection of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes against the administration. This is the right and appropriate time for us to visualize the problems facing the country; to analyze and take appropriate steps to bring sanity among the mass by introducing the remedial measures. One such remedial measure as suggested by the majority of the Dalith organizations is categorization.

7.3.2. The list of Scheduled Castes of Karnataka comprises maximum number of castes in the country with 101 castes. That, on the basis of salient features of castes like; “a) Segmental divisions of society b) Hierarchy c) Restrictions on feeding and social intercourse d) Civil and Religious disabilities and privileges of different section e) Lack of un-restricted choice of occupation, and f) Restriction on marriage”, they are broadly be divided into four groups for certain specific reasons mentioned in the previous chapter namely: Edagai-I (left hand), Balagai-II (Right hand), Touchables-III and Other Scheduled Castes-IV.

7.3.3. Various Dalith Organizations at the meeting with the Commission and in their representation submitted to the Commission in response to the appeal, published in Dailies suggested many ways and means for their development. The left hand group namely Madigas, Bhambi, Samagara, Madar and Adi jambava etc., submitted that they constitute more than 60% to 70% of their population and yet they remained most backward among Scheduled Castes as all the benefits are being garnered by other groups. They pleaded for categorization of Scheduled Castes and distribution of reservation benefits on the basis of proportionate population of each group with reference to the population of the Scheduled Castes in the State; they also demand for the exclusion of touchables from the list of Scheduled Castes; more funds for development in the field of Education, Health, Housing and there Hereditary occupation; to take appropriate steps for implementation of Special Component Plan.

7.3.4. The right hand group like Holeya, Chalavadi, Adi Karnataka etc., vehemently opposes the categorization of the Scheduled Castes on the ground of unity of Dalith community. They strongly argue for exclusion of touchables from the list of Scheduled Castes. They are agreeable for categorization only if the touchables are excluded from the list of Scheduled Castes and the ratio of reservation is raised to 30% from 15%.

7.3.5. The touchables like Banjara, Lamani and Lambani etc., opposes categorization. They appeal for more benefit for their community.

7.3.6. The other touchables like Bhovi, Korama and Koracha and other Scheduled Castes welcome categorization with many more developmental schemes for the betterment of their community.

7.3.7. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India struck down the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Castes (Rationalization of reservation) Act 2000 (AP Act 20 of 2000) declaring the Act as Ultra Virus the Constitution for being violative of Article 14 of the Constitution; besides, holding the said legislation is beyond the legislative competence of the State for having been made in violation of Article 341 (2) of the Constitution of the India.

7.3.8. Thereafter the Government of Andhra Pradesh made a request to Union of India for appropriate action to render justice to people belonging to the Scheduled Castes. The Govt. of India has resolved to constitute a National Commission under a retired Judge of the Supreme Court to examine the issue arising out of the judgement of Supreme Court relating to categorization of Scheduled Castes in Andhra Pradesh into four groups for the purposes of reservation, in all its aspects.

7.3.9. However, Justice Mrs. Usha Mehra, former Judge of Delhi High Court was appointed as the Chairperson of the Commission and the Commission after holding enquiry is said, to have filed the report to the Central Govt. and it is pending consideration.

7.3.10. Under the aforementioned circumstances is it open for this Commission to conduct inquiry and submit the report to the Government with appropriate recommendations even though the Supreme Court has held categorization of the Scheduled Castes is voilative of article 14 of the Constitution of India in E.V.Chainnaiah Vs Andhra Pradesh and others.

7.3.11. The facts and the circumstances of the case of Scheduled Castes in Karnataka is different from the facts and the circumstances of case of Scheduled Castes as pleaded before Hon’ble Justice P.Ramachandra Raju Commission. The main question was the consideration of the socio-economic status of Scheduled Castes who are said to have been placed on same strata. It is different in this case. It is not merely the untouchables among Scheduled Castes; it is a case of distribution of benefits between untouchables and touchables who were notified as Scheduled Castes in Karnataka.

7.3.12. The question of legal permissibility of categorization of Scheduled Castes has already been negatived by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in E.V.Channaiah Vs State of Andhra Pradesh. Yet, the Central Government appointed another National Commission to examine the issue arising out of the judgement of Supreme Court relating to sub categorization of Scheduled Castes in Andhra Pradesh into four groups for the purpose of reservation in all its aspects, and the report submitted by such commission is pending consideration before the government of India.

7.3.13. In the light of these Developments and existence of new facts and circumstances in Karnataka, the Commission is of the view that the question of categorization of Scheduled Castes may be considered in the light of the various data collected by the commission.

7.3.14. Before considering the new material collected by the Commission, it is appropriate to mention the particulars of new material as noticed in this case. “New material” does not mean it is found out for the first time; it has been their but, it is being viewed in a “new perspective”.

7.3.15. More than 90% of the Scheduled Castes populations are untouchables. Extreme social and economic backwardness arising out of traditional untouchability is normally considered as criterion for including a community in the list of Scheduled Castes. However, it may vary from state to state. The Supreme Court in the case of Soosai & others Vs Union of India & others AIR 1986 SC 733 explain the socio-economic conditions of Scheduled Castes thus:-

“Now it cannot be disputed that the caste system is a feature of the Hindu social structure. It is a social phenomenon peculiar to Hindu society. The division of the Hindu social order by reference at one time to professional or vocational occupation was moulded into a structural hierarchy, which over the centuries crystallized into a stratification where the place of the individual was determined by birth. Those who occupied the lowest rung of the social ladder were treated as existing beyond the periphery of civilized society, and were indeed not even “touchable”. This social attitude committed those castes to severe social and economic disabilities and cultural and educational backwardness. And through most of Indian history, the oppressive nature of the caste structure has denied to those disadvantaged castes the fundamentals of human dignity, human self-respect and even some of the attributes of the human personality. Both history and later day practice in Hindu society are heavy with evidence of this oppressive tyranny, and despite the efforts of several noted social reformers, especially during the last two centuries, there has been a crying need for the emancipation of the depressed classes from the degrading conditions of their social and economic servitude. Dr. J.H.Hutton, Census Commissioner of India, framed a list of the depressed classes systematically, and that list was made on the basis of an order promulgated by the British Government in India called the Government of India (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1936.

7.3.16. During discussion in Constituent Assembly which was recognized thus:

“Scheduled Castes were backward section of Hindu society who are handicapped by the practice of untouchability, an evil practice not recognized by any other religion”.

7.3.17. The Scheduled Castes in Karnataka comprises of both touchables and untouchables, who stand far apart in social status and set up. The survey of Scheduled Castes families, reveal that the total population of Scheduled Castes is 96,66,104 out of which the population of touchables like Banjara, Bhovi, Koracha, Korama is 22,84,642 constituting 23.64% of the total SC population. It is well known that the privileges of touchables are far superior to that of untouchables, one example being location of their dwelling houses; they are forced to live on the outskirts of the village. There is a further division between Madigas and Holeya. If they are forced to live on the outskirts of the village, the touchables live with others in their village having all privileges. Definitely, this is not a sign of homogeneous class, where a group of castes acquires a different disqualification within the class; it does not satisfy the contents of “homogeneity”.

7.3.18. There is no difference between caste Hindus and Touchable Scheduled Castes as exists between untouchables and caste Hindus. The touchable Scheduled Castes would not have any transaction with untouchable Scheduled Castes. Can it be said it is a homogeneous class. Scheduled Castes for the purpose of Article 341 may be considered as homogeneous class, but the truth of existence of varied backward classes cannot be ignore.

7.3.19. There are no two castes which are equal and same. The untouchables were never a single homogeneous community, they were like all other castes which were once tribal units living separately from each other since time immemorial.

7.3.20. Sri. V.I. Muniswamy Pillai, a Member of Constituent Assembly participating in the discussion mentions “……. But I would like to inform this house of the background which brought out the special name of Scheduled Castes; it was the untouchability, the social evil that has been practiced by the Hindu community for ages, that was responsible for the government and the people to know the section of people coming under the category of Hindus and who were kept at the outskirts of the Hindu society, going backwards to 1916 it was in that year when government found that something had to be done for the untouchable classes”.

7.3.21. Therefore, the test applied for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Castes is extreme social, educational and economic backwardness arising out of traditional practice of untouchability.

7.3.22. However, in view of the data collected by the commission of all Scheduled Castes families in the State with reference to their Castes, Customs, Religious rites and Ceremonies, the prohibitive restrictions between one caste and the other; the rights and privileges being claimed by one caste against other, as a matter of birth right; the socio-economic structure of the society, the curse of untouchability being practiced by one group against others; the advantage and disadvantage, gained and suffered by the practitioners and victims of untouchability: the educational, economic and administrative gulf that exists between the castes impels the Commission to recommend categorization of castes with the sole object to secure equality among equals.

7.3.23. The Caste system in India is a system of social stratification, resulting in graded inequality. The Scheduled Castes occupies the last layer of this graded inequal society. Some of the castes of Scheduled Castes are placed lower than the lowest rung of the graded inequal society. They are deprived of all means of development, besides being treated as untouchables by their people who are also untouchables.

7.3.24. It is no doubt that all the 101 castes are deemed to be Scheduled Castes having been specified as such in the notification published by the President. But it should be remembered as observed by Hon’ble Justice V.R.Kirshna Iyer that the Scheduled Castes are an amalgam of many castes, races, groups, tribes, communities or parts thereof found on investigation to be the lowliest in need of massive aid and notified as such by the President. They are having different life style, economic standard, commensality, social status including the untouchability. From the study of Scheduled Castes it is impossible to consider all the 101 Scheduled Castes is a homogeneous class, where the Banjara, the Bhovi, The Korama and Koracha consisting about 22 lakhs of population are admittedly not untouchables.

7.3.25. Some castes like Dakkala among Madiga are untouchables to untouchables. The right hand groups do not share the food and water with the left hand group. They live in an orderly built locality whereas the Madiga people live in thatched sheds constructed around cesspools outside the village; far away from the houses of Right hand group; with such graded inequality can they be treated equals?

7.3.26. The Supreme Court in the State of Jammu & Kashmir Vs Triloki Nath Khosa & Others (1974) 1 SCC 19, holds that:

“But the concept of equality has an inherent limitation arising from the very nature of the constitutional guarantee. Equality is for equals. That is to say that those who are similarly circumstanced are entitled to an equal treatment.

Classification, however, is fraught with the danger that it may produce artificial inequalities and therefore, the right to classify is hedged in with salient restrains; or else, the guarantee of equality will be submerged in class legislation masquerading as laws meant to govern well marked classes characterized by different and distinct attainments. Classification, therefore, must be truly founded on substantial differences which distinguish persons grouped together from those left out of the group and such differential attributes must bear a just and rational relation to the object sought to be achieved”.

7.3.27. The data collected from the survey conducted by the Commission demonstrates the stark inequality between the right hand and left hand groups; between touchables and untouchables.

7.3.28. The facilities for the Scheduled Castes in respect of their education and employment are being extended from the time the constitution came into force. Yet there is a huge gap among the various groups of Scheduled Castes in respect of their socio-economic, political and cultural aspects. Therefore, the Commission feels that reliance on trickledown theory hoping that the benefits of development could slowly percolate through the socio-economic different layer, ultimately reach the poor at the bottom rungs and peripheral of the society is proved a mirage; particularly where the reservation benefits are being garnered only by a few families for generation after generation.

7.3.29. For these reasons the Commission is of the view that providing the reservation benefits to such most backward section of the Scheduled Castes in whatever manner calling it in any name either reservation or categorization or affirmative action may not result in the violation of any constitutional provisions, on the other hand it creates equal opportunities for sections, so that there may not be any room for anyone to develop jealous, anger and enmity against the other.

7.3.30. It is interesting to note as to how the caste like Lambani, Bhovi, Koracha and Korama were included in the list of Scheduled Castes. As stated earlier the state of Karnataka came into existence in 1956 with the amalgamation of certain parts of five States like Madras, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Maharashtra and Kodagu with former State of Mysore. The ruler of former State of Mysore, Sri Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar was a Benevolent King, who cared very much for the development of the oppressed and suppressed class. In 1921 he created / categorized a separate class called depressed class including seven castes viz: Adi Andra, Adi Dravida, Adi Karnataka, Lambani, Bhovi, Koracha and Korama among Hindus.

7.3.31. After the Constitution came into force by virtue of provisions of the constitution Scheduled Castes order 1950 on the recommendation of then Raja Pramukh of the State of Mysore, the President of India notified the said castes, races and tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes shall for the purpose of the constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Castes in relation to the State of Mysore. The four castes namely Lambani, Bhovi, Koracha and Korama were not Scheduled Castes in other States and they continued to be as such in the area which integrated with the former Mysore State. Only four castes which were included in the list of Scheduled Castes from the area covered by former State of Mysore used to receive the benefits of reservation along with Adi Andra, Adi Dravida and Adi Karnataka under the provisions of constitution. It appears in 1976 a representation was made to the State Govt. for treating these four castes also as Scheduled Castes by virtue of the provisions of The Area Restriction Removal Act. Accordingly the four castes which were treated as tribes in major portion of the part of Karnataka declared as Scheduled Castes.

7.3.32. It is interesting to note the growth of population of these four castes from 1961 onwards; there were only 1,78,773 Banjaras in Karnataka in 1971 and the said population is increased to 6,07,189 in 1981 and as on 2011 there are 11,02,751. Similarly the population of Bhovis raised to 9,48,716 from 2,58,377, the population of Koracha 46,962 from 19,076 and Korama 26,184 to 1,86,213.

7.3.33. Today all these four castes put together would constitute more than 22 lakhs of Scheduled Castes population; they are touchables; enjoying all the facilities of caste Hindus and also the reservation facilities/ benefits available to the Scheduled Castes and thus they have become a pain in the neck of the untouchables.

7.3.34. The next question is whether the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes be classified as backward and more backward for the purpose of distribution of benefits. Supreme Court has observed that article 16(4) recommends only one class i.e. backward class of citizens. It does not speak separately of Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes as does Article 15(4). Even so, it is beyond controversy that Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes are also included in the expression (backward class of citizens) and that separate reservation can be provided in their favour.

7.3.35. It is pertinent to notice the judgement of Supreme Court in State of Kerala and others Vs Thomas and others, AIR 1976, SC 1490 which explained the concept of equality.

Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.Murthuza Fazl Ali in his separate but concurring judgment, noticing the observations of Supreme Court, in State of Jammu & Kashmir Vs Triloki Nath Khosa, AIR 1974 SC-1, that:

“Since the constitutional code of equality and equal opportunity is a charter for equals, equality of opportunity in matters of promotion means an equal promotional opportunity for persons who fall, substantially within the same class. A classification of employees can therefore be made for first identifying and then distinguishing members of one class and those of another”. Proceeded to hold that:

“The Concept of equality or equal opportunity as contained in Art.16 does not mean that same laws must be applicable to all persons under every circumstance. Indeed, if this artificial interpretation is put on the scope and ambit of Art.16 it will lead to channelization of legislation or polarization or rules. Differences and disparities exist among men and things and they cannot be treated alike by the application of the same laws but the law has to come to terms with life and must be able to recognize the genuine differences and disparities that exist in human nature. Legislature has also to enact legislation to meet specific ends by making a reasonable and rational classification”. In Morey V Doud, (1957) 354 US 457 at P.473 it was so aptly observed:

“To recognize marked differences that exist in fact is living law; to disregard practical differences and concentrate on some abstract identities is lifeless logic”. (Emphasis is by the Commission)

7.3.36. In the same case Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer considering the objections of the learned counsel of the respondent that “Scheduled Castes” are castes all the same and preferment shown to them is plainly opposed to article 16(2) of the Constitution has held as follows: “Now we may deduce from these and other like Articles, unaided by authority, certain clear conclusions of great relevance to the present case: (1) The Constitution itself demarcates harijans from others. (2) This is based on the stark backwardness of this bottom layer of the community. (3) The Differentiation has been made to cover specifically the area of appointments to posts under the State. (4) The twin objects, blended into one, are the claims of harijans to be considered in such posts and the maintenance of administrative efficiency. (5) The State has been obligated to promote the economic interests of harijans and like backward classes, Arts. 46 and 335 being a testament and Arts.14 to 16 being the tool-kit, if one may put it that way. To blink at this Panchsheel is to be unjust to the Constitution”.

7.3.37. Considering the question whether backwardness contemplated in article 16(4) is social backwardness or educational backwardness or whether it is both social and educational backwardness in Indra Sawhney Vs Union of India AIR 1993 SC 447, the Supreme Court held that Backwardclass of citizens contemplated in article 16(4) means the same as the expression “socially and educationally Backwardclass”.

7.3.38. The Supreme Court further observed that: “Clause (4) of Article 16 does not contain the qualifying words “socially and educationally” as does clause (4) of article 15; it may be remembered that article 340 (which has remained un-amended) does employ the expression “socially and educationally” Backwardclass and yet that expression does not find place in the article 16(4). The reason is obvious; “Backwardclass of citizens” in article 16(4) takes in scheduled tribes and Scheduled Castes and all Backwardclass of citizens including socially and educationally backward classes.

7.3.39. Considering the question whether backward classes can be further categorized into backward and more backward categories? The Supreme Court in Para 92A has stated as follows:

“We are of the opinion that there is no constitutional or legal bar to a State categorizing the backward classes as backward and more backward. We are not saying that it ought to be done. We are concerned with the question if a State makes such a categorization, whether it would be invalid? We think not. Let us take the criteria evolved by Mandal Commission. Any caste, group or class which scored eleven or more points was treated as a backward class. Now, it is not as if all the several thousands of castes/groups/classes scored identical points. There may be some castes/groups/classes which have scored points between 20 to 22 and there may be some who have scored points between eleven and thirteen. It cannot reasonably be denied that there is no difference between these two sets of castes/groups /classes.

7.3.40. To give an illustration, take two occupational groups viz., goldsmiths and vaddes (traditional stone-cutters in Andhra Pradesh) both included within Other Backward Classes. None can deny that gold-smiths are far less back-ward than vaddes. If both of them are grouped together and reservation provided, the inevitable result would be that gold-smiths would take away all the reserved points leaving none for vaddes. In such a situation, a State may think it advisable to make a reservation even among other backward classes so as to ensure that the more backward among the backward classes obtain the benefits intended for them. Where to draw the line and how to effect the sub-classification is, however, is matter for the Commission and the State – and so long as it is reasonably done the Court may not intervene.

7.3.41. In this connection, reference may be made to the categorization obtaining in Andhra Pradesh. The Backward Classes have been divided into four categories. Group-A comprises of “Aboriginal tribes, Vimukta jatis. Nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes etc”. Group-B comprises professional group like tappers, weavers, carpenters, ironsmiths, goldsmiths, kamsalins etc. Group-C pertains to “Scheduled Castes converts to Christianity and their progeny”, while Group-D comprises of all other classes communities, groups which are not included in groups A,B and C. The 25% vacancies reserved for backward classes are sub-divided between them in proportion to their respective population. This categorization was justified in Balram (1972(3) SCR 247 at 286) (AIR 1972 SC 1375). This is merely to show that even among backward classes; there can be a sub classification on a reasonable basis.

7.3.42. There is another way of looking at this issue. Article 16(4) recognizes only one class viz., “Backwardclass of citizens”. It does not speak separately of Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes as does Article 15(4). Even so, it is beyond controversy that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are also included in the expression “backward class of citizens” and that separate reservation can be provided in their favour. It is a well-accepted phenomenon throughout the country. What is the logic behind it? It is that if Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes are lumped together, O.B.Cs will take away all the vacancies leaving Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes high and dry. The same logic also warrants categorization as between more backward and backward. We do not mean to say – we may reiterate – that this should be done. We are only saying that if a State chooses to do it, it is not impermissible in law.

7.3.43. The word “Caste” is explained by E.S.Venkataramaiah JJ in K.C.Vasanthkumar Vs State of Karnataka AIR 1985 Supreme Court page 495 states as follows: “a caste is an association of families which practice the custom of endogamy i.e. which permits marriages amongst the members belonging to such families only. Caste rules prohibit its members from marrying outside their caste. There are sub-groups amongst the castes which sometimes inter marry and sometimes do not. A caste is based on various factors; sometimes it may be a class, race or a racial unit. A caste has nothing to do with wealth. The caste of a person is governed by his birth in a family. Certain ideas of ceremonial purity are peculiar to each caste. Sometimes caste practices even led to segregation of same castes in the villages. Even the choice of occupation of members of castes was pre-determined in many cases, and the members of a particular caste were prohibited from engaging themselves in other types of callings, professions or occupations. Certain occupations were considered to be degrading or impure”.

7.3.44. The facts narrated till now indicate the size of population of Scheduled Castes with 101 castes along with synonyms. The Scheduled Castes are heterogeneous castes for all purposes except for constitutional benefits. Prof. Parvathamma, a renowned sociologist of yester-years branded Scheduled Castes a legal fiction and a constitutional myth. Other sociologists have said the term Scheduled Castes is a blanket label given to the group of heterogeneous class included in a single category for purposes of constitutional guarantees.

7.3.45. Each caste is characterized by its own rules of endogamy, hierarchy and inequality. There is also graded inequality among Scheduled Castes in the matter of education, employment, social status, economic stability, commensality etc. There is internal religious restrictions and prohibitive customs among Scheduled Castes in the State. The graded inequality is not merely economical and educational but social and political also.

7.3.46. In view of the materials available in support of reasonable classification the case for categorization of Scheduled Castes into groups and distribution of reservation benefits in proportion to the population of each group in the context of population of Scheduled Castes in the state may be considered. In fact the grouping has been done on the basis of certain acceptable qualification between the castes of different groups commencing from food, shelter, worship etc., each group is bound by a common thread namely exchange of food and water and participation in religious functions and the inferiority and superiority claimed by each caste.

7.3.47. It is no doubt true that Scheduled Castes carry the curse of untouchability for much yore. It is true that untouchability is abolished and its practice in any manner is punishable as commanded by article 17 of the constitution. However, it is still in practice in the country and the Scheduled Castes are not allowed to draw water from public wells and enter temples at many places. The untouchability is being practiced in the country in many ways even to the knowledge of the authority concerned. The untouchability is being practiced by certain castes of Scheduled Castes against their own Scheduled Castes considering such caste to be inferior to them. The question of untouchability does not arise in case of Group-4, who are also listed as scheduled caste without the tag of untouchability.

7.3.48. Reasons stated above and circumstances mentioned support the plea of majority members of the Scheduled Castes for categorization of Scheduled Castes into groups and distribution of reservation benefits in proportion to their population in the context of population of Scheduled Castes in the State.

7.3.49. Accordingly the Commission recommends for categorization of scheduled castes into four groups namely (1) Group-1(Left hand group) (2) Group-2 (Right hand group) (3) Group-3 (other Scheduled Castes) (4) Group-4 (Touchable scheduled castes) and the distribution of reservation benefits under article 15 & 16 of constitution of India in proportion to in population of each group in the context of the total population of Scheduled Caste in the state.

7.3.50. In order to secure the categorization of Scheduled castes, the state government shall make appropriate recommendation to the Union of India, to move the parliament for appropriate order under Art.341(2) of the Constitution of India, in view of the observation of Supreme Court in E.V. Channaiah that: “Art.341 Provides that exclusion even of a part or a group of castes from the Presidential list can be done only by the parliament, the logical corollary thereof would be that the State Legislature are forbidden from doing that….”

7.3.51. In case of categorization the reservation benefits shall be distributed in accordance with the proportion mentioned hereunder:

[*] The proportion of reservation for Group-1 is as follows:

Group-1: %
Group-2: %
Group-3: %
Group-4: %

The compliance of reservation benefits in accordance with the proportion mentioned above shall be taken up only after complying with Article 341(2) of the constitution of India.

[*Figures withheld by our Source]

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