The Supreme Court has said that courts cannot render their opinion on the correctness or otherwise of the President's decision to include/exclude a particular caste from the list of Scheduled Castes in any particular region of the country.
Rejecting a special leave petition filed by an organisation challenging the deletion of a particular caste from the list of Scheduled Castes, the apex court disagreed with the view that superior courts should exercise its judicial review in such matters.
"List prepared by the President under Article 341 (3) of the Constitution of India forms one class of homogenous group. Only one list is to be prepared by the President and if any amendment thereto is to be made, the same is to be done by Parliament. Even the state does not have any legislative competence to alter the same," a bench of Justices S B Sinha and Markandeya Katju said.
Under Article 341, the President may with respect to any state or Union Territory specify the castes, races or tribes for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Castes.
The bench passed the ruling while dismissing an appeal filed by Shree Surat Valsad Jilla KMG Parishad challenging a central government order issued under Presidential notification, wherein members of a particular caste 'mochis' of Gujarat were not included in the list of Scheduled Castes except in the districts of Dang and Valsad.
By a notification dated December 18, 2002, the central government deleted the name of the 'mochi' community from the list of Scheduled Castes, except in the Dang and Valsad district.
The organisation challenged the deletion on the ground that such decisions even if issued under a Presidential notification were subject to judicial review.
However, disagreeing with the view, the apex court said the President of India alone in terms of Article 341(1) of the Constitution is authorised to issue an appropriate notification thereof.
"It is not therefore, not for the court to render its opinion as to whether the President was correct in confining inclusion of the Caste "Mochi" within a particular area," the bench said.