Association & ANR Vs. Union of India
& Ors  INSC 29 (28 January 2000)
V.N.Khare, M.J.Rao M. Jagannadha Rao, J.
writ petition is filed by the Parents' Association of Ten Years Students,
Andaman and Nicobar
Islands (Port Blair) (
hereinafter called Ten Years Category) and one P. Pratapan, Port Blair. The
respondents are the Union of India, represented by the Secretary, Ministry of
Home Affairs, New Delhi and the Secretary, Minister of Human Resources and
Development (respondents 1(a) and 1(b), the Lt. Governor (respondent 3) and the
Secretary (Education)(Respondent 4) of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Port
petitioners filed the above Writ Petition (under Order 1, Rule 8, C.P.C.),
seeking to set aside the proceedings of the Union of India, Ministry of Home
Affairs dated 14.2.84, 4.9.91, 30.5.96 as being violative of Articles 14, 15,
16, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India. Directions were sought for
framing Consolidated Regulations under Article 240(1)(a) of the Constitution of
India in relation to allotment of seats for higher educational courses (
professional and technical) and for public employment/appointment for all
permanent residents of the Islands, in conformity with Articles 14, 15 and 16
of the Constitution of India, to redefine 'local' and 'permanent resident' by
removing all discrimination on the basis of race, descent, place of birth etc
to divide the entire community of school leaving students/permanent residents
into two categories (i) Tribals and (ii) others subject to the condition that
they have studied for ten years in the Island and passed the qualifying
examination from schools in the Islands and not to give executive instructions.
facts of the case are as follows:
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, there are several categories of persons residing -
(i)tribals (ii)those who settled there prior to 1942 (iii) others who settled
after 1942 under rehabilitation schemes and (iv) those who have gone to the
island for business or professional purposes and who have put in 10 years
education. The writ petitioners belong to the last of these categories. As to
who are the pre 1942 settlers and post 1942 settlers we shall explain later.
were fixed for the above said categories of persons under various orders, from
time to time, for purpose of admission to Engineering/Medical etc.seats.
seats are reserved in various colleges in the Indian mainland from time to
time. We may
make it clear, even at the outset, that the 'quotas' fixed in the various
proceedings, except the quota fixed for Tribals, do not fall under Article
15(4) at all. The question of the validity of the quotas for the Central
Government servants, the pre-1942 and post 1942 settlers and the 10 year old is
to be considered on the basis of Article 14 and not under Article 15(4).
impugned order of the Central Government is dated 30.5.96 and refers to the
quotas fixed from time to time, namely, by the notifications of the Ministry of
Home Affairs dated 7.3.81, 4.9.91, then to criteria fixed by the Supreme
Court's interim order dated 6.8.1993, and finally to the criteria fixed by the
Andaman and Nicobar Administration on 23.4.94 and by the Lt. Governor on
6.8.94. The order of the Lt. Governor
dated 6.8.94 was quashed by the Calcutta High Court.
the Central Government passed the order dated 30.5.96 and formulated fresh
quota system for various categories and the said quotas are now impugned in
this writ petition. The relevant categories have been classified in the
impugned order as follows:
(ii) Deputationists and Central Government Employees (iii) Pre 1942 - Settlers
(iv) Post 1942 - Settlers under re-settlement Schemes (v) Other locals with 10
years education in Islands (The writ petitioners belong to this category and
this category is classified as category (iv) in the impugned notification dated
30.5.96 (vi) Merit candidates.
various percentages of quotas have been fixed.
no specific quota has been fixed for the 'merit candidates'.
will be advantageous to refer to the quotas fixed from time to time in the
earlier orders of the Central Government, and in the interim order of the
Supreme Court dated 6.8.93 and by the Lt. Governor of the Islands and the
quotas now fixed in the present impugned order dated 30.5.96 of the Central
are as follows:
Category Criteria Criteria Criteria Criteria Criteria Criteria of approved approved
as per as per as per fixed by residents by MHA by MHA Supreme order of orders
of MHA on on 7.3.81 on 4.9.91 Court's A&N admn. A&N Admn. 30.5.96 order
dt. dated dated 6.8.93 25.4.94 6.8.94
___________________________________________________________________________ 1 2
3 4 5 6
___________________________________________________________________________ I. Tribals
20% 20% 20% 20% 20% 20% II. Deputation ists and Central 10% 10% 50% 50% 10% 10%
Govt. (For (For Employees category category II II III. Pre 1942 50% 50% III III
17.50% 50% settlers (For (For (For (For category category IV IV category category
III III and and III) III and and and IV) IV) V) V) IV) IV. Settlers 17.50% in
re- (For settlement category schemes IV) after 1942 V. Other 20% 20% 35% 20%
locals for for for for with 10 category category category category yrs. education in Islands VI. Merit - - 30% 30% - -
100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% ___________________________________________
* The definition of Central Government Employees changed to include only
Central Government employees with transfer liability to serve outside the UT
Central Government employees having no transfer liability to serve outside the
UT Admn. were included in Category V.** The
Supreme Court's order stated that "50% shall be distributed
proportionately in accordance with the break-up indicated in categories 2, 3
and 4 in the order dated 4th
Included deputationists, Central Government Employees and others who were not
in any other category.
will be seen from the above tabular statement that in various proceedings, the
local Tribals of the Islands (Category I) have been given a
quota of 20% seats. In the proceedings dated 7.3.81, 4.9.96 of the Central
Government and the proceedings of the Lt. Governor
dated 6.8.94 and in the impugned order of the Central Government dated 30.5.96,
10% seats are reserved for the deputationists and Central Government Employees.
is no dispute before us regarding these quotas.
writ petitioners are, as already stated, the "other locals with 10 years
education in the Island" (category V). In the earlier
orders of the Central Government dated 7.3.81 and 4.9.91, this category was
given a quota of 20% of the seats but the said percentage was increased to 35%
and the quota for the pre-1942 and post 1942 settlers was reduced by the Lt.Governor
in his orders dated 6.8.94. That was quashed by the Calcutta High Court. After
a fresh survey, the Central Government has now passed the impugned order on
30.5.96 and reduced the 35% quota of the petitioners' category to 20% and
brought back the 50% quota for the pre-1942 and post 1942 settlers. This is the
cause of action for the writ petition.
learned senior counsel for the petitioners Sri K.Sukumaran contended that the
reduction of the quota for the petitioners category from 35% to 20% was violative
of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India, that the pre and post 1942
settlers could not have been given 50% quota and that in the impugned order of
the Central Government dated 30.5.96, no provision was made for merit quota and
this was not permissible.
other hand, learned senior counsel for the Central Government Sri P.P.Malhotra
and the other learned senior counsel Sri S.B.Sanyal and Sri M.C.Bhandare
supported the above order of the Central Government.
following points arise for consideration:
Whether the reduction of quota for the "locals with 10 years education" from 35%
to 20% is illegal or otherwise vitiated?
Whether the provision for 50% quota for the pre and post 1942 settlers suffers
from any legal infirmity?
Whether the impugned order has not made any provision for merit candidates?
Point 1 and 2:
shall initially refer to the various orders passed by the Central Government
from time to time and to the various orders of the Calcutta High court passed
7.3.81, the Central Government made certain categorisation and fixed certain
quotas as shown in the Table. The same were revised again on 29.2.88 by the
Central Government ( not shown in the Table). The said order dated 29.2.88 of
the Central Government was challenged in CR No.5321(W)/1988 in the Calcutta
High Court. M.K.Mukherjee, J. (as he then was) in his judgment dated 18.7.90
while upholding the policy of the Central Government in fixing quotas for
students of different categories including the `local born' in view of their
economic and educational backwardness, however observed that "while
considering the case of those with 10 years education in the Islands, there was
no justification in excluding their students who may have also a minimum of 10
years continuous education in the Island and passed the school
examination". It was observed that the definition of `local candidate'
contained in the order dated 14.2.84 should be amended so as to include such
Ms. Ruma Pal, J. in C.O.9115(W) of 1991 passed certain orders on 11.6.91 but
recalled the same on 9.8.91. The learned Judge observed that it was not clear
whether the Central Government had passed fresh orders in the light of the
judgment of M.K.Mukherjee, J.(as he then was).
at that stage that the Central Government passed orders dated 4.9.91 fixing
various quotas (referred to in the Tabular Statement). These quotas were
modified by the Lt. Governor on 25.4.84 by reducing the percentage fixed for
the pre-1942 settlers and post- 1942 settlers (under schemes). This order dated
25.4.84 was quashed by Tarun Chatterjee,J. in C.O.78(w) of 1994 dated 27.7.94
on the ground of violation of principles of natural justice, inasmuch as the
pre and post 1942 settlers were not heard before reducing their quota.
the Lt. Governor passed a fresh order dated 6.8.94 after hearing the affected
parties. The said order was again challenged in CO 11514(W) of 1995 by the
`Local Born Association'. Samaresh Banerjee, J. in an elaborate judgment dated
31.1.96 after referring to the history of the litigation, quashed the said
order of the Lt. Governor dated 6.8.94, giving various reasons.
will be necessary to briefly refer to the said reasons.
learned Judge while stating that there was no need to go into the question of
the jurisdiction of the Lt. Governor to modify the orders of the Central
Government dated 4.9.91, observed that it was obvious that Lt.Governor's orders
dated 6.8.94 were `adhoc' or tentative and were meant only for the then
"current" academic year. It was held that the Lt. Governor's orders
making a tentative decision was contrary to the direction of Tarun Chatterjee,
J. that a final order was to be passed. It was also observed that "even
the interim arrangement has been made on incomplete data".
was clear from the fact that the Lt. Governor had himself held that there was
no upto date data and that data had to be gathered by a fresh survey. If that
was so, the Lt. Governor had no material even to make a tentative decision. The
Lt. Governor had "not come to any finding in the order as to how the quota
or percentage of reservation - which was lastly revised in the year 1991 -
cannot be said to be equitable". The Lt. Governor had not stated why the
earlier order of the Central Government of the year 1991 was inequitable.
Lt. Governor "has not at all applied his mind to the representatives of
the present petitioners against the reduction of their quota". The
"entire exercise which has been made by the Lt. Governor by giving hearing
to different parties pursuant to the direction of Tarun Chatterjee, J. was a
futility as no final decision has at all been taken based on relevant
materials". On the above grounds, Samaresh Banerjee, J. quashed the Lt. Governor's
orders dated 6.8.94 and remitted the matter to the Central Government.
Thereafter, the present order dated 30.5.96 was passed.
shall now refer to the reasons upon which the present decision of the Central
Government dated 30.5.96 is based.
present order takes into account the findings of the survey regarding `student
population', a factor which was treated as relevant in the judgments of the
Calcutta High Court rendered by M.K.Mukherjee, J. (as he then was) and by Tarun
Chatterjee, J. as stated earlier.
facts revealed from the survey of student were set out in the order as follows:
____________________________________________________Category No.of Percentage of students total no. of _________________________________students_ I. Tribals 5850 7.61 II. Central Government Employees, deputationists and
others not covered in any category but completed two years of education from
schools in the territory 4257 5.54 III. Pre 1942 settlers 7408 9.64 IV.
Settlers in re-settle- ment schemes after 1942 14796 19.25 V. Other locals with
10 years education in islands 43931 57.15 VI. Others having education in
islands for less than two year 628 0.82
_______________________________________________________ The Central Government
then observed that there was no dispute between the parties in regard to the
20% quota for tribals. The Central Government then referred to the contentions
of (i) The Andaman and Nicobar Administration (ii) Local Born Associations
(iii) the Bengal Association (iv) Parent Association, 10 years category (writ
petitioners) and (v) the Harbour Workers Engineers Association. The Central
the above averments, the following points emerge: A & N Islands are an extremely backward area because of there remoteness
and under development. This is a total lack of higher education facilities in
the Islands and hence the students from there
have to depend on the reservations provided in the mainland. Therefore, the
system of reservations has to continues for all permanent residents of the Islands." Then the Central Government
observed that, no doubt, no investigation had been carried out under Article
340 by appointing a Commission to investigate into the conditions of backward
classes in the island, socially and educationally but the fact remained that
there was much backwardness among the permanent residents of the Island. The order then stated:
a Welfare State, we must ensure that orders issued in regard to reservation
cover the entire population of the island territory which does not have the
requisite facilities for higher education." It then referred to the
contention of the A & N Administration pleading for a specific reservation
of 30% for general merit, then to the contention of the Local Born Association
that 20% be reserved for tribals and 50% for the pre & post 1942 settlers
and 30% for merit. It also referred to the plea of (writ petitioners), the
"Parents Association of Ten years Students" that except reservation
for tribals other reservations would be bad and also to the fact that in the
interim order of the Supreme Court dated 6.8.93, 30% were reserved for merit.
After confirming 20% quota for tribals, the Central Government stated that
though 20% of seats were earmarked for tribals as per the 1981 and 1991 orders,
the actual utilisation of the said quota was low. For example, the student
population of tribals was 7.61% (Class I to XI) but their representation in
class XII was only 2.77%. The position during 1992 to 1996 was no different for
which the figures were as follows:
Year Total No.of No.of seats Percentage seats available actually of seats from
A&N Admn. utilised by utilised by tribals Tribals
________________________________________________________ 1 2 3 4
________________________________________________________ 1992-93 196 7 3.5
1993-94 190 5 2.63 1995-95 209 8 3.82 1995-96 188 8 4.25 (Col. 4 shows that the
20% quota was never utilised by the tribals)
________________________________________________________ The Central Government
stated that though "60 B.E.
in 1993-94 and 52 B.E.seats in 1995-95 were available, no tribal candidate was
actually awarded any B.E. seat. But, even so, the Government of India now
thought it fit to maintain 20% quota for tribals, and directed that the
unfilled quota may go to the merit candidates. The order stated as follows:
to the condition that the seats which are not actually utilised by Tribals will
be diverted to general category open to all the residents of the A&N Islands, irrespective of any classification and will be filled up
purely on basis of merit." The Central Government then observed that the
pre-1942 settlers and the post 1942 settlers who were "brought" to
the islands under various colonisation and rehabilitation schemes had a special
case, as they passed through times when the territory was extremely backward,
undeveloped and inhospitable and, as such, they deserved a different treatment
more favourable than others who had migrated to the island much later and of
their own accord. On that basis, the Central Government restored the 50% quota
for pre 1942 and post 1942 settlers above mentioned. However, in order to
ensure that benefits do accrue to the targeted population, the Central
Government directed further sub-quotas as follows:
pre 1942 settlers .... 1/3rd (2) other settlers ...... 1/3rd The remaining 1/3
was to go to the two groups but on `combined merit', with a condition that
"unutilised seats,if any, in this category, will go to the general merit
quota." The Central government retained the 10% quota for Government
servants and deputationists, subject to the condition that "the candidates
in this category should have studied the last two years in the islands and
passed the qualifying examination, from a school in the islands." and
"unutilised seats, if any, in this category will go to the general merit
quota." After thus ensuring the 20% quota for tribals, and 50% for the pre
and post 1942 settlers and 10% government employees (deputationists and the unutilised
seats for `merit'), the Central Government dealt with the petitioner's category
i.e. Locals with 10 years education and said that their quota should not be
abolished as contended by the other groups nor increased from 20% and that it
should remain at 20%. It was also stated that:
seats in this category will be diverted to the general merit quota." The
Government did not find it appropriate to club any section of the Central
Government employees with transfer liability with this category of `other
the Government of India concluded as follows:
short, the allocation of seats to various categories with effect from the 1996
academic sessions will be as under:
I: Tribals 20%
Category II: Deputationists
and Central Govt.employees with transfer liability to serve outside the Union Territory, provided the candidates in this category have studied the
last two years in the islands and passed the qualifying examination from a
school in the islands. 10% Category III:
who were settled prior to 1942 and those who were settled under various
rehabilitation schemes introduced after reoccupation of the Islands. 50% The seats in this category
will be allocated as under:
Pre-1942 Settlers 1/3rd (b) Other settlers 1/3rd (c) Seats to be allocated on
the basis of combined merit of (a) & (b) above 1/3rd Category IV:
locals who do not fall under Category I, II or III above and such Central
government Employees having no transfer liability to serve outside the Union
territory, provided all have had 10 years education in the islands 20% Category
V: General merit quota open to all the [Un residents of the A&N Islands
irrespective utilised of any classification. This will be seats of subject to
the condition that the categor- candidates in this category have studied ies I,
the last two years in the islands and II, III, passed the qualifying
examination from a and IV school in the Islands. above].
shall now refer to the facts mentioned in the counter affidavits to justify the
restoration of 50% quota for the pre-1942 and post 1942 settlers and the
reduction of the quota for the petitioners' category.
counter affidavit filed on behalf of the Central Government in this Court, it
was stated that no other category had raised any objection against the quotas fixed
in the order dated 30.5.96 except the petitioner's category. In fact, the other
categories for whom quotas were fixed were not even impleaded by the
petitioners in this writ petition. (The "natural born" category got impleaded
as respondent No.5 on their own).
categories referred to in the impugned order dated 30.5.96 are, it is stated,
identifiable in the islands and are not the creation of the government's
instructions. No provision of the Constitution has been violated. The
reservation is based on the policy of the Government of India. The Government
"may from time to time modify or vary the conditions regarding selection
for admission if such modifications or variations become necessary to achieve
the purpose of uplifting the socially and educationally backward
can be fixed by executive instructions also. It is not correct to state that
100% seats have been reserved and nothing is left for merit. The pre 1942
settlers and the settlers brought to the island under various colonisation and
rehabilitation schemes have a special case as they have passed through
difficult times when the territory was extremely backward, undeveloped and
inhospitable. They are entitled to more favourable treatment. The decision is
based on `historical background' and a distinction based on 'historical
background' is valid. The petitioners' category is different as it consists of
those who "subsequently migrated to islands on their own volition and
sweet will, finding migration more beneficial and lucrative".
quotas are fixed for the `students' in view of the express directions of the
Calcutta High Court. There is no comparison between the pre-1942 and post 1942
settlers on the one hand and the petitioners on the other hand. The 10% quota
for Deputationists and Central Government employees with transfer liability is
also valid as it encourages people to serve in the islands.
pre 1942 settlers suffered during the 2nd World War due to Japanese occupation
while the post 1942 settlers were settled by government under schemes and they
faced tremendous hardships. The petitioners have migrated much later on their
own volition and are "socially, educationally and economically more
advanced and do not share the same past which the pre -1942 settlers had faced.
In fact, most of the petitioners'category have an undisturbed and settled
establishment at various places in the mainland. The petitioners represent the
affluent classes who migrated at their sweet-will for exploring lucrative
business opportunities. They cannot be equated with pre or post 1942
counter affidavit filed by the `Local-Born Association', a brief history of the
islands is given.
is made to the penal settlement of Indians in 1825 and in 1832 upto 1930 and to
the criminal convicts settled there by the Britishers. Several sepoys who
participated in the 1857 rebellion were also sent to Andamans. Other freedom
fighters were sent in 1905 and 1920. These persons were forced to do labour for
making roads, buildings, removing forests etc. and to make the island
habitable. Those who were released were not allowed to go back to the mainland
but were allowed to bring their families or marry female ex-convicts. The
Japanese occupied the islands on 2.3.43 and were there upto 18.10.45. These
Indians were tortured by the Japanese. The language, culture, life style,
economic strength and education of these were different. These are the `local borns'.
Then there were the post 1942 settlers brought under special schemes. On the
other hand, those who migrated in 1950 or thereafter maintained their contact
with the mainland. The members of the 1st petitioner's association who are
central government employees and are parties of the 10 years educated category
- have claimed their `Home Town' in the main island and are permitted to visit the mainland
every year at government expense. It was further averred that, under this
quota, the ten year educated group who get higher education in the mainland, do
not come back to work in the Islands. It is stated:
children of the writ petitioner no.1 after availing the benefit of reserved
seats meant for this backward area, upon completing their education, do not
comeback for serving the island, instead and settle down in the mainland. They
never come back even though they sign the bonds to serve the islands for a
period of 3 years." The claim of the writ petitioners that the 10 year
category students population constituted 58% of the total student population is
denied as no authentic census has been conducted. In any event, population is
not the criteria for allotment of seats by way of special provision. The
existing definition of 'locals' is to the detriment of the tribals and to the
pre-1942 settlers and any further dilution thereof is not permissible. Further,
the said definition concerns employment and not education.
rejoinder has been filed contending that the pre and post 1942 settlers do not
stand on a separate footing and that 57% of student population belonging to the
petitioner's category cannot have only 20% quota.
the above facts as stated in the affidavits filed by the parties, it is clear
that the pre-1942 settlers and the post 1942 settlers who were settled in the
Islands belong to a separate category and have to be considered as backward,
socially and educationally, next only in degree to the Tribals. These
categories were compulsorily inducted in the Island and struggled hard over several decades to make the Islands habitable.
had no educational opportunities over a long period and were forced to do hard labour
for laying roads, constructing buildings, removing forests etc. These included
penal settlers, sepoys of 1857 movement, later freedom fighters etc. They were
not allowed to go to the mainland. The 1942 settlers suffered torture during
the Japanese occupation in 1942-43. The post 1942 settlers were brought to the Island under specific schemes of
rehabilitation etc. These two categories, by no stretch of imagination, can be
equated with the petitioner's category which consists of those who voluntarily
migrated to the island for business or other careers.
persons were definitely more advanced socially and educationally. In fact, it
is the respondent's contention that some of them show their 'home-town' in the
mainland and their children, once they get into the reservation quota, do not
come back to the island for settling there.
therefore, agree that in view of the historical background there was ample
justification for the Central Government, in their orders dated 30.5.96, to
restore the 50% quota for the pre and post 1942 settlers and in not reducing
the same to 17.50% plus 17.50% as done by the Lt. Governor in his order dated
question has been raised by the petitioners that according to the survey, more
than 50% of the students belong to the 10 year educated category and that
therefore the fixation of a quota of 20% to the petitioners as against a
student population over 50% was bad.
view, this contention is not legally Union of India ( 1992 Suppl (3) SCC 217)
that reservations are not to be made on the basis of population of a particular
category. Reservation for education is to be made under Article 15(4) keeping
in view the social and educational backwardness and the need to provide
adequate educational opportunities. Merely because, the 'ten year education
category' like the petitioners are more in number, they cannot claim a larger
percentage of reservation on that basis. Jeevan Reddy, J. pointed out (see p.
734 SCC, para 807), that the principle of 'proportionate representation' was
accepted in the Constitution only for purposes of Articles 330 and 332 and that
too for a limited period. Those articles spoke of reservation in the Lok Sabha
and State Legislatures.
such reservation based on population can, therefore, be carved out for the
if the petitioner's category of 10 year educated persons consist of 57% of the
student population, it is not possible to give them a higher quota as compared
to the pre-1942 and post 1942 settlers who were identified as backward, both
socially and economically.
it is clear that the Central Government in its orders has considered the facts
revealed in the survey, it has considered the submissions of all the groups and
the historical basis of the reservation of 50% in favour of the pre-1942 and
post 1942 settlers.
kept in mind that the petitioners are affluent and are more advanced
educationally and socially. In our view, the impugned order does not suffer
from any irrationality. It cannot be said that any relevant facts were not
considered or any irrelevant facts were taken into consideration. For the
aforesaid reasons, we hold on Point 1 that the reduction of the quota for the
petitioners from 35% to 20% was perfectly justified and on Point 2 that the
prescription of 50% for the pre and post 1942 settlers was equally justified.
There was no violation of Articles 14 or Article 15(4) or any other provision
of the Constitution. Points 1 and 2 are decided accordingly against the petitioners.
point relates to the contention that no specific quota has been fixed for
candidates competing on merit basis.
true that normally it is expected that reserved categories cannot exceed 50% of
the quota as decided in various decisions of this Court and the rest must go to
merit candidates. But on the peculiar facts of the case relating to the Andaman
and Nicobar Islands, the present classification and
quota cannot be said to be offending the said principle. The impugned order
dated 30.5.96 refers to the statistics from 1992-93 and shows that though 20%
quota was reserved for the Tribals, the said quota was never fully utilised.
it was specifically provided that the unutilised quota of the 20% for tribals
would go to merit candidates. A provision was made in respect of the merit
candidates amongst the pre-1942 and post 1942 categories by providing a
sub-classification in which 1/3 of 50% would go to such merit candidates and unutilised
quota was to go to the general merit candidates. Even in respect of the 10%
quota for Central Government employees and deputationists and the 20% quota for
the Ten year education group, it was directed that the unutilised quota would
go to the merit candidates. Having regard to rather special facts obtaining in
the Islands, we are of the view that it cannot
be said that adequate provision has not been made in favour of merit
learned senior counsel for the petitioners sought to contend, on the basis of
certain figures which were not brought on record, that in recent years the
special quotas were not left unutilised. This contention was countered by Sri
S.B. Sanyal, learned senior counsel for some of the respondents stating that
the seats of the reserved categories remain unutilised even now.
there is no authentic data before us on the question, we cannot accept the data
put forward by the learned senior counsel for the petitioners. We, therefore,
hold that it cannot be said that adequate provision has not been made to the
merit candidates. Point 3 is decided against the petitioners.
before parting with the case, we may state that the Government of India has to
review the position periodically to find out if the members of the reserved
categories are able to get selection in sufficient numbers and also whether a
reasonable percentage is going to merit candidates. It may be that in the
peculiar facts governing the Andaman and Nicobar Islands the quota for merit candidates may not necessarily go upto
50%. Such exceptional situations have been pointed out even in Indira Sawhney's
case (see p.735 of SCC, para 810). It was there observed:
50% shall be the rule, it is necessary not to put out of consideration certain
extraordinary situations inherent in the great diversity of this country and
the people. It might happen that in far-flung and remote areas, the population
inhabiting those areas might, on account of their bring out of the mainstream
of national life and in view of conditions peculiar to and characteristic to them
need to be treated in a different way, some relaxation in this strict rule may
become imperative. In doing so, extreme caution is to be exercised and a
special case made out." The last review having been made in 1996, the
Central Government may consider a review atleast by 2006. Any review has to be
made after obtaining authentic data in regard to the extent of utilisation of
the quotas fixed under the 30.5.95 order for the Tribals and for the pre-1942
and post 1942 settlers.
to the above observations, the writ petition is dismissed. There will be no
order as to costs.