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Legal hurdles for quota in pvt colleges

Experts say in the absence of any judgment contrary to Justice Bhandari’s, the government cannot extend the law to unaided institutions, reports Bhadra Sinha.

delhi Updated: Apr 12, 2008 02:02 IST
Bhadra Sinha

As the political debate shifts to reservation in private unaided institutions, the Supreme Court verdict seems to have created legal hurdles in extending quota beyond government institutions.

While four of the five judges left the issue of reservation in private educational institutions open, Justice Dalveer Bhandari held that the 93rd Amendment violates the basic structure of the Constitution by stripping citizens of their fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (g) to carry on an occupation.

Experts say in the absence of any judgment contrary to Justice Bhandari’s, the government cannot extend the law to unaided institutions.

“Justice Pasayat and Justice Thakker ... Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice Raveendran did not express any opinion. Justice Bhandari has concluded that it violates the basic structure of the Constitution. In the absence of any disagreement with Justice Bhandari, his judgment is binding,” said former A-G Soli Sorabjee.

Supreme Court advocate TR Andhyarujina said, “It’s a matter of government policy. And even if they do (bring private institutions within the ambit of the quota law), the decision will definitely be open to judiciary scrutiny.”

Senior counsel KK Venugopal said, “I think it’s a clear signal to the government that if the occasion arises, they may follow the view of the fifth judge.”