This case deals with the reservation policy that was issued by the State Governor in the thirteen districts of the State of Jharkhand. This reservation policy created a lot of confusion, and several aspirants were facing a lot of trouble regarding their appointment issue even after completing all the selection process.
In the year 2016, on 14th of July, the State Government issued a notification which stated that inter alia in the thirteen scheduled districts of the State namely the districts of Sahebganj, Pakur, Dumka, Jamatra, Latehar, Ranchi, Khunti, Gumla, Lohardanga, Simedega, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikella Kharwasan only those people who are the local residents of these Scheduled concerned districts will be eligible for appointment on the District Cadre Class-III and Class-IV posts for a period of ten years from the date of issuing of this notification by the State Government. After this notification, 17572 vacancies for the teacher's post came out and for Panchyat Sachiv vacancy came out. The reservation notification actually divided the districts of Jharkhand State into a ratio of 11 and 13 wherein the case of the 11 districts there will be no such reservation basis on the issue of appointment on the District Cadre Class-III and Class-IV, but there will be a reservation for those 13 districts that are already mentioned. Due to this order by the State Government, many aspirants for the post of Trained Graduate Teachers in various subjects in the Government Secondary Schools, even after their selection process, could not be appointed in the schools of these thirteen districts of the State of Jharkhand. For this troublesome situation, Soni Kumari filed writ applications along with several other persons. Almost five writ applications were filed regarding this same issue; thus, the honorable Jharkhand High Court regarded Writ Petition Civil No. 1387 of 2017 as the leading writ application which was filed by Soni Kumari.
When the case reached the High Court of Jharkhand, a lot of aspects were carefully taken into observation. Few questions arose while doing the observation of this particular case; one of them is that whether any provisions of the Constitution of India empower the Governor to make any new law or what the scope of paragraph 5(1) is. The High Court opined that paragraph 5(1) of Schedule V does not give power to the Governor to make any new law. Thus the notification issued by the Governor of the State stands ultra vires with Paragraph 5(1) of Schedule V of the Constitution. Another question that came up that whether the power could be extended to the subordinate legislation. It has been observed that though the rules under Article 309 of the Indian Constitution, which states about the recruitment and conditions of services of persons serving the Union or a State, have the same force as a statute, it cannot be said to be Act of Parliament or State Legislature. Thus in the opinion of the High Court of Jharkhand, the Governor was not open to issue any notification. The other question was whether the power conferred in the Fifth Schedule could override the Fundamental Rights that are guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution. There is a power that is given to the Governor to deal with Scheduled Areas. It is pari passu, i.e., side by side with the legislative power of the Parliament and the State. The Constitution can never give any arbitrary power. Every power should be exercised in such a manner that it is standing with respect to the other objectives of the Constitution. The most important question was whether 100% reservations permissible under the Indian Constitution. The High Court opined that by providing 100% reservation to the scheduled tribes, the law had deprived the scheduled castes and other deprived classes of the society. The concept of Reservation is not proportionate but adequate. It was also held that a hundred percent reservation is violative of Article 14, 15, 16 of the Constitution of India. Another question was whether the notification contemplates a classification under Article 16(1) of the Constitution and not a reservation under Article 16(4) of the Constitution. I(t was observed that a hundred percent reservation could not be said as a form of classification under Article 16(1). It is a reservation under Article 16(4) of the Constitution. The last question was whether the conditions for eligibility of the Reservation was reasonable. It was observed that the conditions for eligibility of the Reservation, i.e., continuously residing in the district was ex facie arbitrary. And Article 15(1) of the Constitution states that the State shall not discriminate inter alia on the ground of place of birth. However, Article 15(4) states that the Reservation for backward classes can be carved out on their advancement. It is also open to prescribing for conditions of eligibility on the grounds of residence in particular as well as on educational requirements, but it cannot be fixed arbitrarily or irrationally. The High Court took the reference of the case of Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao's Case, where the Supreme Court gave the verdict of 100% reservation as not valid.
Finally, the honorable Jharkhand High Court gave the judgment on the 21st of September 2020. It stated that the Reservation based on those 13 districts of Jharkhand does not stand to be valid. The recruitment on the basis of that reservation system has also been stopped.