By Rajas Salpekar
A constitutional bench comprising of Justice Vineet Saran, Aniruddha Bose, M.R.Shah, Indira Banerjee and Arun Mishra, struck down a united Government Order (G.O.) dated 10th January 2000, issued by the erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh, in a judgment dated 22nd April 2020, penned down by Arun Mishra J.
The G.O. provided 100% reservation to schedule tribe teachers in schedule areas of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, of which 33.3% seats were to be reserved for women. The said G.O. was challenged and righteously struck down by the Supreme Court. The petitioner’s who approached the court said that this order not only affected the seats of general merit but also the other reserved castes.
The judgment said that providing such reservation was not only obnoxious but also arbitrary. “It is an obnoxious idea that tribals only should teach the tribals. When there are other local residents, why they cannot teach is not understandable. The action defies logic and is arbitrary. Merit cannot be denied in toto by providing reservation,” observes Arun Mishra J. Further, the judgment is to be applied prospectively i.e. the pre-appointed teachers will not be laid off.
The SC cited 1992’s landmark judgment of Indira Sawhney which had set the benchmark of providing reservations to 50% and slapped the AP government with cost of rs Five Lakhs for violating the same.