Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani on Thursday strongly defended before the Supreme Court Parliament’s power to place a law in the Ninth Schedule.
Appearing for Tamil Nadu before a nine-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal, he said, “The court must start with and proceed on a strong presumption that Parliament in exercise of its constituent power was aware of its limitations and in passing the amendment it has made its determination that the amendment does not violate the basic structure doctrine.”
Jethmalani said, “the legislative judgment — express or implied — is entitled to the highest respect and can be reserved only if this court is convinced that no reasonable body of men can arrive at such a conclusion.”
The former law minister raised questions about certain portions of the recent Constitution Bench judgment excluding creamy layer from the purview of quota benefit to SCs/STs and requested the court that such a thing should not be there in the judgment in this case. The CJI assured him that his concern would be taken care of.
He also sought to defend the controversial Tamil Nalu quota law placed under the Ninth Schedule, saying “it strengthens the basic feature of the Constitution, which is to make unequal equal by raising their educational, social and economic standards.”
The court had on Wednesday termed as a “fraud on the Constitution” the placing in the Ninth Schedule of the Tamil Nadu law providing for 69 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions as it violated the 50 per cent cap declared by it in the Mandal case.