|| Welcome To Vidhik Vani ||

Indra Sawhney vs Union of India (1993)

Case Summary


The case of Indra Sawhney v. Union of India (1993) is a landmark legal proceeding that deals with the reservation policy in India, particularly in the context of government employment and public sector undertakings. The petitioner, Indra Sawhney, along with others, challenged the implementation of reservations based on caste in public employment under the Mandal Commission recommendations.


In its judgment delivered in 1993, the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of reservations in government jobs but imposed certain limitations on their scope and extent. The court ruled that reservations should not exceed 50% of the available seats and that the "creamy layer" among the reserved categories should be excluded from the benefits of reservations. Additionally, the court held that reservations should be based on social and educational backwardness rather than solely on caste, emphasizing the need for a nuanced and inclusive approach to affirmative action.


The judgment in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India had significant implications for the reservation policy and affirmative action in India. It provided clarity on the constitutional framework governing reservations and set guidelines for their implementation to ensure fairness and equity. The decision recognized the importance of addressing historical injustices and promoting social justice through affirmative action while also balancing the principles of meritocracy and equal opportunity. Additionally, the case stimulated debates on the effectiveness and rationale of caste-based reservations and prompted efforts to explore alternative mechanisms for uplifting marginalized communities.

List of Linked Cases:

M. Nagaraj v. Union of India (2006)

State of Kerala v. N.M. Thomas (1976)

Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India (2008)

R. Chitralekha v. State of Mysore (1964)

Balaji v. State of Mysore (1963)

Janki Prasad Parimoo v. State of Jammu & Kashmir (1973)