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Former CJI Lalit opposes LGBTQ ‘vertical’ reservation akin to SC, ST, OBC

January 12, 2024

Former Chief Justice of India UU Lalit stated on Thursday that the LGBTQ community should not be entitled to “vertical” reservations, comparable to those provided to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), or the Economically Weaker Section (EWS). However, he suggested that they might be eligible for “horizontal” reservations, akin to those for women and individuals with disabilities.

Justice Lalit, who concluded his term as the 49th CJI in November 2022, expressed these views during a Q&A session following his lecture on ‘Affirmative Action and Constitution of India’ at the India International University of Legal Education and Research (IIULER).

Responding to a question about whether the LGBTQ community could be included in constitutional affirmative action or reservation, he acknowledged the theoretical possibility but highlighted a distinction. Lalit argued that birth in a community like SC, ST, or OBC is beyond an individual’s control, whereas sexual orientation is a matter of personal choice.

He acknowledged that affirmative action might be applicable to those born as a third gender due to the accident of birth, but he emphasized that most LGBTQ individuals adopt their orientation as a personal choice.

Despite this, Lalit suggested that, in the future, the LGBTQ community might be considered for affirmative action to some extent. He differentiated between “vertical” reservations, such as those for SCs, STs, and OBCs, and “horizontal” reservations, like those for women and physically disabled individuals.

Vertical reservations, he explained, compartmentalize different groups, while horizontal reservations allow individuals to belong to multiple categories without increasing the total size of the reservation quota. Lalit proposed that LGBTQ could potentially fall into the horizontal reservation category, but he emphasized that such decisions should be made by the Parliament.

Source: PTI

Also read: VidyaMitra: Pro Bono MBA/MS admissions consulting for low income & LGBTQ+ Candidates

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