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Kishori Das and Ors. v. The State of Bihar and Ors. - (High Court of Patna) (04 Feb 2017)

Report of Statutory Commission of experts cannot be interfered with for reason that there could be better way of identification of caste



Challenge in present petition is to Notification dated 22nd April, 2015, published in Extra-ordinary official Gazette by State Government on 28th April, 2015 whereby Teli (Hindu and Muslim) and Tamoli castes were deleted from Schedule-II of category of Other Backward Classes (for short, 'OBC') and included in Schedule-I of the Extremely Backward Classes (EBC) of Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes) Act, 1991 (for short, 'the Act'). Grievance of Petitioner is that by shifting Teli and Tamoli castes in the Schedule-I, which is the list of EBC, from Schedule-II, which is the list of Backward Classes, will affect their chances of appointment.

Criteria to be considered to determine as to whether a caste is socially backward as discussed in Indira Sawhney's case. In terms of direction of Supreme Court, State Commission for Backward Commission was constituted and such Commission has been empowered to take exercise for inclusion or exclusion of any caste from Schedule-I and Schedule II of the Act. Commission has sent questionnaire in respect of various factors, such as educational qualification, financial status, representation in services of State and Central Government services etc. and also delineated eight headings under which Commission considered and submitted its report. Commission is a statutory body and is exercising statutory function. Report of such statutory Commission of experts cannot be interfered with for the reason that there could be better way of identification of the caste. This Court in exercise of power of judicial review does not sit as a Court of appeal over findings recorded by experts more so when experts are exercising statutory function.

In Sajeesh Babu K. v. N.K. Santhosh, Court held that in a matter of appointment by an Experts consisting of qualified persons in particular field, normally, Courts should be slow to interfere with opinions expressed by experts, unless there is any allegation of mala fides against experts who had constituted the Selection Committee.

Thus, reports of the State Backward Classes Commissions, cannot be said to be based on no materials or unsupported by reasons or characterized as decisions arrived at on consideration of matters that are, in any way, extraneous and irrelevant. Report of Commission cannot be said to be an impossible or perverse view which would justify exclusion of report submitted. Mere possibility of a different opinion or view would not detract from binding nature of report submitted by Commission. In view of limited jurisdiction to interfere with findings of statutory Commission that Teli is a caste which should be included in Schedule-I out of Schedule-II, cannot be said to be warranting any interference as such was the jurisdiction conferred by the Statute on the Commission.

Relevant : Indra Sawhney vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. MANU/SC/0665/1992, Sajeesh Babu K. v. N.K. Santhosh,  MANU/SC/0932/2012: (2012) 12 SCC 106


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