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TN questions SC power to interfere in quota Act
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 2
The perceived confrontation of the executive and the legislature with the judiciary on the issue of judicial review of certain laws placed in the Ninth Schedule was virtually evident today during hearing by the Supreme Court on Parliament’s competence to put laws in the Ninth Schedule, with the Tamil Nadu Government openly challenging the court’s power to review its reservation Act.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the Tamil Nadu Government before a nine-Judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, in a strongly worded written submission, not only questioned the power of the court to interfere in the state’s reservation law, but also gave a sermon to it on how it should decide the case.

This attracted equally strong observations from the court that it was doing its duty in deciding each and every matter with a full sense of responsibility and not treating any case lightly.

The Chief Justice told Mr Jethmalani that if the legislature enacted laws with a two-third majority to decide which of those formed a part of basic feature of the Constitution, the court was dealing with the issue with the same sense of responsibility cast upon it under the Constitution.

The observation was made by the court when Mr Jethmalani said the power of judicial review should not be exercised lightly.

Mr Justice Ashok Bhan, taking strong exception to this, said, “Who does it? It need not be expressed. We are aware of our responsibilities.”

The Chief Justice said a new theory was being propagated of late on split judgments given by the court that it did not have the full backing of all Judges in the Bench, which was not correct about a judicial verdict.

“A judgement is a judgement of the court and if too much compromise is done by Judges to arrive at a unanimous view, there are many pitfalls. Various factors go into a judgement”, the Chief Justice told the lawyer.

The Tamil Nadu Government counsel admitted that the credibility of today’s politicians was so low that whatever this court said, people were found behind it.

Beginning arguments, Mr Jethmalani questioned certain aspects of the recent five-Judge Constitution Bench judgement on reservation in public employment.

He said, “I find disturbing passages in it. There are some passages which require reconsideration.”

He said nothing should fall from the court in its judgement in the present case from the verdict on reservation in public employment decided recently.

The Bench said, “We are not examining that Act. We will take care of your apprehension.”



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