Horizontal & Vertical Reservation Methodology by Supreme Court

Horizontal & Vertical Reservation Methodology by Supreme Court

Recently the Supreme Court has clarified the legal status of the vertical and horizontal reservation.


Sourav Yadav vs. Uttar Pradesh case by Supreme Court clarified the matter, which was related to the dispute arising out of the manner of reservation given to various sections in the selection process to fill the posts of constables in the state, the legal status of the implementation of vertical and horizontal reservation.

What is ‘vertical and horizontal reservation’ Methodology?

Vertical reservation Methodology :

  • The reservation given for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes is called a vertical reservation.
  • It is provided separately for each group specified under the method. This applies separately to each of the groups specified under the law. Article 16 (4) envisages vertical reservation.

Horizontal Reservation Methodology:

Horizontal reservation means providing equal opportunities in all vertical reservation categories to the beneficiaries of women, retired soldiers, transgender community and persons with disabilities etc. Article 15 (3) envisages horizontal reservation.

Application of Reservation:

  • The horizontal quota is applied separately from the vertical category.
  • For example, if women get 50% horizontal reservation, half of the selected candidates in each vertical reservation category will be women, that is, half of all the selected candidates of scheduled caste will be women, similarly in an unreserved or general category. Half of all the selected candidates will be women. The same procedure will be applicable in all types of reservation categories.

Related matters:

  • In the year 2020, the issue arising from the implementation of reservation in the selection process for the posts of constables in Sourav Yadav vs State of Uttar Pradesh was resolved.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government followed a policy of restricting the candidates of reserved categories to their categories even after achieving higher grades.

Supreme Court verdict:

  • The court pronounced the judgment against the Uttar Pradesh government, saying that if a person falling under both the vertical and horizontal reserved categories scores enough marks to qualify without the vertical reservation, then the person qualifies without the vertical reservation. And will not be excluded from the horizontal quota in the general category.
  • The court said that the logic of the Uttar Pradesh government meant that the general class was ‘reserved only for the upper castes.


  • This decision of the court will provide clarity on reservation and will make it easier for governments to implement reservation.
  • If high scoring candidates will be admitted under the general category then more needy candidates of SC, ST and other backward classes will get benefit.

Reservation related provisions in India:

  • Article 15 (3) of the Constitution allows for protective discrimination in favor of women.
  • Article 15 (4) and Article 16 (4) of the constitution enable the state and central governments to reserve seats in government services for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates.
  • The constitution was amended in the year 1995 and a new clause (4A) was included in article 16, which enables the government to provide reservations in promotions.
  • Article 330 and Article 332 of the Constitution ensure exclusive representation through the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities in Parliament and State Legislatures respectively.
  • Article 243 makes provision for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in every Panchayat.
  • Also, it also makes a provision to reserve one-third of the total seats available for women.
  • Article 233 provides for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in each municipality.
  • According to Article 335, the claims of members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes should be taken care of to maintain the efficiency of administration.

Source – Indian Express

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