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Supreme Court Quashes Madras HC Direction That EWS Reservation In NEET-AIQ Requires SC Constitution Bench Approval

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
24 Sep 2021 10:35 AM GMT
Supreme Court Quashes Madras HC Direction That EWS Reservation In NEET-AIQ Requires SC Constitution Bench Approval
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The Supreme Court on Friday set-aside the observations in the Madras High Court's order which said that the reservation for Economically Weaker Sections(EWS) in the NEET-All India Quota can be implemented only with the approval of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court that is examining the correctness of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment which provided for economic...

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The Supreme Court on Friday set-aside the observations in  the Madras High Court's order which said that the reservation for Economically Weaker Sections(EWS) in the NEET-All India Quota can be implemented only with the approval of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court that is examining the correctness of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment which provided for economic reservations.

A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna held that the Madras High Court's observations were unnecessary. The bench said that the Madras High Court was considering a contempt petition seeking implementation of OBC reservation in NEET-AIQ, and hence the observations on 10% EWS quota amounted to a transgression of its jurisdiction.

"Having found that there is no contempt, the High Court has gone into a wider spectrum..there the High Court has really erred. When you are in contempt jurisdiction, you just need to see if the order has been complied or not", Justice Chandrachud remarked.

The Supreme Court was considering a special leave petition filed by the Union Government against the Madras High Court's observations on EWS quota.

Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the Centre, submitted that the High Court ought not to have made the observations while it was exercising its contempt power.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK) party - which was the petitioner before the High Court in the contempt petition-submitted that the issue is "complicated", and Centre's SLP could be heard along with the other petitions challenging the EWS/OBC quota in the NEET-AIQ. Sibal pointed out that the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment is being examined by the 5-judge bench. Sibal, along with Senior Advocate P Wilson, both appearing for the DMK, did not however object to the findings of the High Court that there is no contempt committed by the Centre.

The Union was aggrieved with the following observation made by a bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu of the High Court in paragraph 66(iii) of its judgment passed on August 25:

"The additional reservation provided for economically weaker sections in the notification of July 29, 2021 cannot be permitted, except with the approval of the Supreme Court in such regard".

The Supreme Court set aside the above observation in the High Court's order. However, the Supreme Court clarified that it is not expressing anything on the merits of the EWS quota in NEET-AIQ, as it is a subject matter of other petition, and that it is setting aside the High Court's order on the sole ground that the High Court transgressed the limits of contempt jurisdiction.

The bench dictated the following order after the hearing :

"We are clearly of the view that the High Court has transgressed into areas which were alien to the issues raised regarding the compliance of the earlier order. Having come to the conclusion that there was no breach of the judgment, rest of the discussion of the High Court in paragraphs commencing from 55 was unnecessary for the purpose of the contempt petition.

We, therefore hold that direction issued in para 66 (3) as alien to the exercise of contempt jurisdiction and shall accordingly stand set-aside.

However, we clarify that the specific direction is set aside not on merits but on sole ground that such direction has transgressed the boundaries of contempt jurisdiction. We are not expressing opinion on the merits of the case since the points will arise in a bunch of petitions pending adjudication".

The Court will hear on October 7 the other petitions challenging the Centre's notification to implement OBC, EWS quota in NEET-AIQ.

Case Title: Union of India v. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and others

Click Here To Read/ Download Order

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