The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Election Commission (EC) to consider reserving two seats for the Scheduled Tribes in Uttar Pradesh's assembly and Parliament constituencies.
A bench headed by justice Altamas Kabir gave direction on a plea drawing the court's attention to the fact that the poll panel had failed to reserve seats for STs despite a 2003 Presidential Order (PO) that increased the ST population in the state from 1.07 lakh to 6.65 lakh.
The order will, however, not affect the forthcoming assembly polls in the state as EC submitted that it will take at least three months to carry out the exercise to identify and earmark reserved constituencies.
The bench observed election panel had failed to carry out its constitutional obligations to give proportional representation to STs on the basis of the order. The panel, however, defended itself saying though there was a PO, there wasn't any statutory legislation or direction asking it to take action. Therefore, the counsel added, the panel hadn't acted upon it.
According to the petition before the SC, as per the 2003 PO 10 communities from SCs were added to the list of ST. This move increased the number of tribes in the state. Before the order there were just five communities under the STs category.