Supreme Court Stays Kerala HC Proceedings Over Centre's 10% Reservation To EWS (24-09-2021)

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Supreme Court Friday stayed the proceedings before the Kerala High Court on a plea challenging the Centre's decision to grant 10 per cent reservation in jobs and admissions to candidates of the economically weaker sections (EWS). A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli also issued notice on the plea filed by the Centre seeking transfer of the case from the high court to the apex court which had earlier referred to the similar case for adjudication to a five-judge Constitution bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the Centre and sought stay on the proceedings before the high court besides a notice to Nujaim PK who had filed the PIL there.

The plea said: “The present transfer petition is being filed...under Article '139A (1) of the Constitution, seeking the transfer of Civil Writ Petition No.-23872 of 2020 titled as Nujaim P.K. Vs. Union of India 85. Ors, pending before the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam, to this Court... “Writ Petition involves an identical question of law to one pending before this Court, whether the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 violates the basic structure of the Constitution of India and is against the basic principle of the constitution”.

The transfer of the aforesaid writ petition would enable all these cases to be clubbed and heard together and avoid possibility of inconsistent orders being passed by different courts, it said.

The transfer of petition is necessary because a similar plea and other connected petitions regarding the validity of the Act are pending before this court, it added.

The top court had earlier referred to 5-judge Constitution a batch of pleas and transfer petitions challenging the Centre's decision to grant 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education to economically weaker sections and the Act. The court had refused to stay the Centre's decision.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha cleared the bill on January 8 and 9, 2019 respectively, and was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind. The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

Recently, the Madras High Court made a crucial observation that the Centre's notification on grant of 10 per cent quota to the EWS in all-India quota (AIQ) seats of medical colleges would require approval of the top court.

The Centre's plea against this observation is scheduled for hearing during the day in the top court.


24 Sep 2021