Minority Issues – SC, ST, Dalits, OBC, Reservations, etc.

Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ninth Schedule of Indian Constitution

Mains level : Read the attached story

A parliamentarian has said in an interview that reservation should be put under the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.  His comments came days after the Supreme Court ruled that reservation in the matter of promotions in public posts was not a fundamental right and that a state cannot be compelled to offer quota if it chooses not to.

What is the Ninth Schedule?

  • The Ninth Schedule contains a list of central and state laws which cannot be challenged in courts.
  • Currently, 284 such laws are shielded from judicial review.
  • The Schedule became a part of the Constitution in 1951, when the document was amended for the first time.
  • It was created by the new Article 31B, which along with 31A was brought in by the government to protect laws related to agrarian reform and for abolishing the Zamindari system.
  • While most of the laws protected under the Schedule concern agriculture/land issues, the list includes other subjects, such as reservation.
  • A Tamil Nadu law that provides 69 per cent reservation in the state is part of the Schedule.

Article 31A and 31 B

  • While Article 31A extends protection to ‘classes’ of laws, A. 31B shields specific laws or enactments.
  • Article 31B also has retrospective operation: meaning if laws are inserted in the Ninth Schedule after they are declared unconstitutional, they are considered to have been in the Schedule since their commencement, and thus valid.
  • Although Article 31B excludes judicial review, the apex court has said in the past that even laws under the Ninth Schedule would be open to scrutiny if they violated fundamental rights or the basic structure of the Constitution.
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