M.Nagaraj & Others vs Union Of India & Ors on 19 October, 2006

reservation case


This is a landmark case in the history of Indian jurisprudence of constitution. On 19th October, 2006 the Apex court through a 5 Judges Constitution bench given a landmark decision on dispute regarding the scope and magnitude of reservation of jobs in the public employment and domain. Some principle like right to equality, life and liberty are the basic human rights that are guaranteed by birth irrespective of their caste, nation, discrimination and need to formal documents like Constitution of India to protect them.

As per John Rawls, equal opportunity means a pre-requisite of a civilized society. However, the society doesn’t make all person equal and thus, it is necessary appropriate to presume that the most disadvantaged have the greatest needs.

In any country as ostentatious as India, where have multi-dimensional cultural differences tremendous pluralism, humongous diversity, both ethnic and linguistic, which collectively make rich heritage also has a watermark on its collar in the form of a thousand-year-old practice of discrimination that originated from birth. The Varna system (वर्ण पद्धति) classified human based on the families where they were belong to. And this led to very negative impact over the person treating the other and harm the person dignity in every form imaginable, which is intrinsic to every human being for long period, such period cannot be calculated.

However, during the initiative of our constitution and expressly guarantee of equal status under part III of the constitution and various attempts made by the govt to uplifting the downtrodden through the favorable action doctrine, which led to the emergence of reservation, the SC in the year 2006 was faced with multiple questions and the most pertinent one was whether it is constitutionally valid to extent reservation to the job.


Article 16(4A) and 16(4B) were added by parliament. This case was challenging the amendment of 85th in 2001 in the Supreme Court for being defiance of the basic structure doctrine and the judgment in the case Indira sawhney vs. union of India.

The article 16 was there in constitution from its beginning with a non-obstacle clause, authorizing the state to make laws for reservation in employment or post of backward classes, which the state thinks have not been adequately represented. The parliament has inserted article 16(4-A) and 16(4-B) into the constitution.

The 77th amendment act, 1995 given the permission the state under article 16(4-B) from carrying forward the vacancies from past of that particular previous year. the reservation given to schedule caste and schedule tribes, leads to massive hue and cry amoung the people and it was claimant that the purpose for such proviso is not made under bona fide and it was brought to attract the voters.

the 81th Amendment act, 2000, given the proviso under 16(4B) article, carry forward vacancies for the in the reservation from past year to following years. this provisions negated the supreme court 50% rule reservation which was expounded in Indira Sawhney Case.

the 85th Amendment Act, was next step ahead and granted the consequential seniority to the SCs and STs

In the Case of M Nagraj vs Union of India raised several issues and claim against constitutional validity and posed various questions to the scope of judicial reviews. which was held to be a basic features in the case of L. Chandra Kumar vs Union Of India and other issues which the parliament keep in mind the basic structure of law while making such any provision related to there to.

next issue was raised against the role of the Supreme Court as the ultimate interpreter of the provisions of the Constitution for the reason that it was contended in this M Nagraj vs Union of India case that the government deliberately overlooked all the previous decisions of the Supreme Court for e.g., Badappanavar,[6] Ajit Singh Januja,[7] Virpal Singh[8] and Indra Sawhney and defied its authority under Article 141 of the Constitution of India, which clearly states that the pronouncements made by the Supreme Court shall be declared as the law of the land.

Observation and judgment


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