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SC to examine plea on quota bench today

india Updated: May 09, 2007 00:34 IST
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The Supreme Court would consider on Wednesday the Centre’s plea to refer the petitions challenging the law providing for 27 per cent reservation for OBCs in central educational institutions including IITs and IIMs.

A Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat asked the counsel for the petitioners and the Centre, Tamil Nadu Government and the RJD to formulate the constitutional issues involved in the case and place before it for consideration.

“We will try to find out the best course available,” the Bench said adjourning the hearing till Wednesday.

Earlier, Solicitor General G E Vahanvati requested the court to refer the matter to a Constitution Bench contending that it involved substantial question of law and interpretation of Constitutional provisions.

On behalf of the anti-quota petitioners, senior counsel Harish Salve wondered how the government could ask for referring the case to a Constitution Bench after having submitted that all the issues raised herein had already been answered by a Constitution Bench in the Mandal case.

"If they do not want to accept the verdict of a nine-judge bench, then let us have a 11-judge Constitution bench, "Salve remarked.

Vahanvati, however, maintained that there were several issues including the validity of the 93rd Constitutional amendment and Article 15 (5) to be tested on the touchstone of “basic structure".

The Solicitor General while enumerating substantial questions that needed the interpretation said it has to be examined what was the true ambit and scope of Article 15 (4) and 15 (5) and whether the test for their interpretation are the same as for Article 16 (4).

Further, he said, substantial questions involved was whether the concept of creamy layer formulated in relation to Article 16 (4) was applicable in relation to reservation in educational institutions under Article 15 (4) and 15 (5).