Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court today
asked the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure in the panchayat
elections "proportional" representation of over 12 social
groups which had been shifted to Scheduled Tribes following an
amendment in 2002.
A division bench comprising Justices Sunil Ambawani and
Kashi Nath Pandey directed the state government "to revise or
modify the final list of reservation of seats of chairpersons
(Pradhans) of the village panchayats in districts where the
members of these Scheduled Tribes are concentrated".
The state government will correspondingly reduce the
number of seats of the chairpersons (Pradhans) allocated to
the notified Scheduled Castes, the court added.
The order came while allowing a writ petition filed by
tribal outfit `Pradeshiya Jan Jati Vikas Manch, UP` which had
moved the court with a plea that following the "Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Act, 2002", ten
castes and seven sub-castes, earlier counted among the
Scheduled Castes, had come to be notified as Scheduled Tribes.
This, the petitioners contended, had led to an increase
in Scheduled Tribes` population in the state by more than
50,000 and in terms of percentage, from 0.06 per cent to 0.38
per cent of the total population but the state government was
not taking this into account while reserving seats for the
Allowing the petition, the court remarked "we find it
extremely unjust and harsh for the state government to further
deprive them (Scheduled Tribes) of their civil and political
rights on flimsy grounds such as the non-availability of the
caste-wise data on which they should be given proportional
representation in the panchayat elections".
"No such defence was taken for backward classes in 1994,
when the state government made rules for determination of
their numbers, and to count the heads of 27 per cent of total
population of the state seven years ahead of census 2001", the
"These persons are not being counted as Scheduled Castes
and though they have been given representation in the public
service as members of the Scheduled Tribes, they are deprived
of the proportional representation in the panchayat elections.
"In fact, they are not being counted and are treated as
persona non-grata (an unwelcome person) for the purposes of
panchayat elections," the court noted with concern.