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Ninth Schedule of Constitution

  Apr 03, 2023

Ninth Schedule of Constitution

Q. Why is this in News?

A. Recently, the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister wrote to the Prime Minister seeking the inclusion of two amendment Bills allowing for a higher quota of reservation in jobs and educational institutions, in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.

Q. What are these Bills?

  • In Chhattisgarh, the State Assembly unanimously approved the two amendment bills, creating a 76% quota for members of the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
    • The Governor has not yet approved the bills.


Q. Why is there a Need to Include these Bills in Ninth Schedule?


  • The Ninth Schedule of the Constitution includes a list of Central and State laws that cannot be challenged in courts. Including the two amendment Bills in the Ninth Schedule would make them immune to legal challenges.
  • Chhattisgarh government argues that including the amended provisions in the Ninth Schedule is crucial for providing justice to the backward and deprived classes in the State.
  • Previously, the Chhattisgarh High Court had struck down a government order allowing 58% quota, stating that the reservation cannot exceed 50% as it unconstitutional.
    • However, two amendment Bills were passed by the State Assembly to provide 76% quota for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.

Q. What is the Ninth Schedule?

  • The Schedule contains a list of central and state laws which cannot be challenged in courts and was added by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951.
    • The first Amendment added 13 laws to the Schedule. Subsequent amendments in various years have taken the number of protected laws to 284 currently.
  • It was created by the new Article 31B, which along with Article 31A was brought in by the government to protect laws related to agrarian reform and for abolishing the Zamindari system.
    • While Article 31A extends protection to ‘classes’ of laws, Article 31B shields specific laws or enactments.
    • While most of the laws protected under the Schedule concern agriculture/land issues, the list includes other subjects.
  • Article 31B also has a retrospective operation which means that if laws are inserted in the Ninth Schedule after they are declared unconstitutional, they are considered to have been in the Schedule since their commencement, and thus valid.
  • Although Article 31B excludes judicial review, the Supreme court has said in the past that even laws under the Ninth Schedule would be open to scrutiny if they violated Fundamental Rights or the basic structure of the Constitution.