ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Recreation of Disparities

This article is an insight into the recent decision delivered by a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court in Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao and Others v State of Andhra Pradesh and Others on 22 April 2020. In effect, the Court nullified the 100% reservation to local Scheduled Tribes for posts of teachers in the Schedule V areas. Three focal concerns that the Supreme Court has overlooked while rendering this important decision are examined and it is shown how the apex court has been oblivious to the unique nature of the Schedule V scheme as laid out in the Constitution and has thereby failed to uphold the rights of the Adivasis. Following the judgment, Adivasi communities across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are extremely agitated and the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana seem to be set to prefer a review of this judgment.

In a recent decision delivered by a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court in the matter of Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao and Others v State of Andhra Pradesh and Others (2020), the Court dealt with matters concerning Adivasi communities that come within the ambit of Schedule V of the Constitution. The issue was primarily with regard to the legality of government orders (GO) Ms No 3, Social Welfare (E) Department, dated 10 January 2000 brought forth by the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) (GO3) providing 100% reservation to “local Scheduled Tribes”1 for the post of teachers in schools in the Scheduled Areas of the state. The said government order was passed in the pre-bifurcated state of AP in order to promote education among the Scheduled Tribes (STs) with a view to develop educational infrastructure in those areas and to address the issue of rampant teachers’ absenteeism in schools. The constitution bench, on 22 April 2020, held the order providing for 100% reservation to STs in teacher posts to be unconstitutional and struck it down.

The brief facts of the case are as follows: By virtue of GO Ms No 275 dated 5 November 1986 (GO275), issued by the governor exercising his power under Para 5(1) of Schedule V to the Constitution of India, it was directed that, notwithstanding anything contained in any other order, rule or law in force, the posts of teachers in educational institutions in the Scheduled Areas shall be reserved for STs only. The same notification was quashed by the AP Administrative Tribunal by an order dated 25 August 1989. Subsequently, another GO Ms No 73 (GO73) dated 25 April 1987 was issued to amend GO275 to allow the appointment of non-tribals to hold the posts of teachers in the Scheduled Areas till such time as the qualified local tribals were not made available.

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Updated On : 28th Jul, 2020

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