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Constitution bench to hear quota case

india Updated: Jul 27, 2007 02:39 IST
Satya Prakash

The validity of the controversial law providing 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in central educational institutions, including Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), will finally be examined by a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, which on Thursday fixed August 7 to commence the hearing.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, however, said the Centre’s plea for vacating the stay on the implementation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 would heard by his bench on July 31, as fixed earlier this month.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, Rajiv Dhavan and M.L. Lahoty opposed it on the ground that once the main petitions had been referred to a Constitution bench, the application for vacating the stay could not be heard by a smaller bench.

On behalf of the Centre, senior counsel K. Parasaran submitted that there was no bar under the SC rules against a smaller bench hearing interlocutory applications after a case had been referred to a Constitution bench.

He said there was urgency as it involved the question of a complete academic year of a large number of students. The court said that all these issues would be decided on July 31.

When the court asked how much time would be needed to complete hearing before the Constitution bench, many of the counsel said it could take three to four weeks since there were over 30 questions relating to the validity of the 93rd Constitutional amendment and the OBC quota law to be considered and decided by the Constitution bench.