The Allahabad HC recently ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to hold urban local body elections without reservation for OBCs as the ‘triple test’ requirement for it had not been met.

 

Details

  • The five-member commission will conduct a survey to ensure that the OBCs are provided reservation on the basis of the triple test, as mandated by the Supreme Court. This is the first time that the triple test exercise will be carried out in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Rapid survey —
      • The Urban Development Department of the UP government had on April 7, 2017 issued orders to conduct a rapid survey for determining the population of OBCs.
      • Based on such a rapid survey in each constituency of a municipality, seats were reserved in proportion to the population of the backward class of citizens in the constituency/ward concerned.

 

What is a Triple Test”?

  • In a landmark judgement in the Krishna Murthy & Ors. Vs. Union of India (2010), the Supreme Court had laid down a triple test for reserving seats in local body polls.
  • The triple test includes –
      • Setting up a dedicated Commission to conduct rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature of backwardness.
      • Specifying the proportion of reservation to be provisioned so as to not fall foul of over-breadth.
      • Such reservation shall not exceed aggregate of 50% of total seats reserved in favour of SC/ST/OBCs together.
  • A three-judge bench in Vikas Kishanrao Gawali Vs. The State of Maharashtra and Others in March 2021, upheld that the triple test is a necessary precondition for reservation to OBCs in local bodies.

 

Why triple test instead of rapid survey?

  • The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court said that any inquiry or study into the nature and implications of the backwardness with respect to local bodies involves ascertainment of representation in such bodies.
  • The court said such an exercise cannot be confined to counting of heads alone, as is being done through the rapid survey.
  • The court said simply granting reservation on the basis of population misses a very crucial factor for determination of backwardness, and that factor is political representation of the class or group concerned.
  • The High Court quoted the Supreme Court’s observation in the K Krishna Murthy case, which pointed out that the nature of disadvantages which restrict access to education and employment cannot be readily equated with disadvantages in the realm of political representation.