India Education
Order reserved on referring quota issue to constitution bench
May 9, 2007 - 3:44:51 PM

New Delhi, May 9 - The Supreme Court Wednesday reserved its order on the union government's plea to refer the issue of quotas for other backward classes - in centrally funded higher educational institutions to a constitution bench.

The order on assigning the task of examining the legality of the law reserving 27 percent seats for OBC students to a constitution bench was reserved by a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and L.S. Panta.

It did so after giving a cursory glance to several sets of questions, formulated by various contesting parties for examination by a larger constitution bench.

The bench forwarded those questions to Solicitor General G.E. Vahanvati and senior counsel Harish Salve for compiling in proper format and to avoid repetition.

The judges said there were several overlapping and common questions drafted by the contesting parties and Vahanvati and Salve would sit together to compile them and submit them to the court Thursday.

The bench also gave eight weeks time to the contesting parties to complete their pleadings on the issue of the constitutional validity of the 93rd Amendment Act and the Central Educational Institution - Act 2006 - that provides for the quotas.

Observing that the questions drafted were indisputably important and of far reaching consequence, the bench said various issues had been formulated by the counsels and it was desirable to consider them before referring the matter to a larger bench.

The court said since all states have been made party to the petition, it would not allow individuals and organisations to be impleaded as parties. However, it allowed recognised political parties like Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal to be heard during the arguments.

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