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  • Soumya Mani


Reservation in Indian law is a form of affirmative action whereby a percentage of seats are reserved in the public sector units, union and state government departments and in all public and private educational institutions for the socially and educationally backward communities and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes who have an inadequate representation in such institutions. Article 15(4) and 29(2) of the Constitution of India talks about the same. However, after the 103rd constitutional amendment in 2019, economic backwardness is also considered as a ground for reservation.


After the introduction of the reservation provision once, it got affiliated to vote bank politics and the following governments and the Indian Parliament routinely extended this period, without any free and fair revisions. Later, reservations were introduced for other sections as well.


In a writ petition filed before the Kerala High Court by a charitable trust The Minority Indian Planning and Vigilance Commission Trust referring to the Sachar Committee report to state regarding the abysmally low representation of Muslim minority community in public employment alleged the inaction of State of Kerala and Kerala State Commission for Backward Classes in revising the list of backward classes, the Kerala High Court issued notice seeking the revision of Kerala State’s OBC list with a declaration that the Muslim community is entitled to all benefits available to the SC/ST classes.

Initially, the petitioner had moved to the Supreme Court but the Court declined to entertain a petition seeking an increase in the percentage of reservation for the Muslim community in public employment in Kerala and revision of the state's backward community list. However, a bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and B R Gavai granted liberty to the petitioner Minority Indians Planning and Vigilance Commission Trust (Trust) to approach the Kerala High Court.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that the Kerala State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 was enacted where the Supreme Court mentioned that there must be a permanent body in the form of a commission or tribunal to handle the complaints of wrong inclusion or non inclusion of groups, sections, classes in the list of Other Backward Classes and issue appropriate order regarding the same. Its advice should be binding on the government.


Therefore, it was held by the Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar, Kerela High Court that, “The above would suggest a prima facie failure of the State Government in adhering to their statutory obligation under Section 11, of the Kerala State Backward Classes Act, 1993, since the required periodic revision of the State's OBC list has not been carried out.” And thus, the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam, ordered for revising the list of Backward communities and to increase the percentage of the Reservations to Muslims minority community.