Update- Caste Re-categorization in UP

Published: July 2, 2019

Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot deemed the move of UP State Government to re-categorize 17 castes from Other Backward Castes (OBC) to Scheduled Castes (SC) as unconstitutional.

Earlier on June 24, the Yogi Adityanath led UP Government had directed all district magistrates and commissioners to issue SC caste certificates to the Kashyap, Rajbhar, Dhivar, Bind, Kumhar, Kahar, Kewat, Nishad, Bhar, Mallah, Prajapati, Dhimar, Batham, Turha, Godia, Manjhi and Machua communities of UP. Currently, these communities are categorized as OBCs under the positive discrimination program.

The minister was requested by the opposition members that the Union Ministry kindly issue an advisory to the state government and ask it to withdraw this unconstitutional order. An earlier attempt was also set aside after been deemed unconstitutional.

The opposition also alleged that till the issue is resolved, these 17 communities can neither avail the benefits of either the OBC community nor of the SC community.

What does the Constitution say?

  • As per the Constitution of India, under article 341(1), the President of India, after consultation with the Governor, may specify, the castes, races, tribes or parts of groups within castes or races, which shall be deemed to be Scheduled Castes .
  • The President also notifies the Scheduled Castes in the order called Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order-1950 and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes List (Modification) Order-1956.
  • However, under article 341(2), ONLY the Parliament of India by law can include or exclude the above-mentioned groups from the list of the Scheduled Castes.

What happens ahead?

The UP Government will have to quash its order and request the parliament to declare these communities as SC.

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