Friday, September 29, 2023

Supreme Court to hear pleas against SC/ST reservation in Parliament, Legislatures on November 1

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday listed the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of extending the political reservation granted to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in Lok Sabha and State Legislature beyond the original 10 years contemplated by the Constitution, to November 1.

The order was passed by a five-Judge Constitution Bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice M.R. Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice P.S. Narasimha.

As per the petitions, Articles 330-334 of the Constitution provide reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies for the SC/ST communities and nomination for Anglo Indians.

Both reservation and nomination were initially contemplated for 10 years. However, considering the social conditions of these communities, extension was granted after expiry of every 10 years.

They said the last extension was granted by way of the Constitution (104th Amendment Act) 2020. However, reservation was only extended for SC/ST communities and not the Anglo Indians. This reservation will continue till 2030.

The petitioners challenged the validity of the Constitution (79th Amendment) Act, 1999, whereby the words ‘sixty years’ have been substituted in place of ‘fifty years’ in Article 334 of the Constitution, which provides for reservation of seats for SC/ST and special reservation in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.

As per their Counsel, this amendment was against the basic feature of the Constitution. They said democracy has been recognised as one of the essential features of the Constitution by this Court and since the Amendment Act deprived the democratic rights of the petitioners, it was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and need to be struck down.

On September 2, 2003, the Supreme Court had transferred the matter to a five-Judge bench.

Case Title: Ashok Kumar Jain Vs. U.O.I

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