Challenge To Extended Reservations Day #1: Supreme Court To Hear Petitions On November 29thChallenge to Extended Reservations in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies
On November 1st, 2022, a Constitution Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud posted challenges to the validity of constitutional amendments extending reservations for SC/ST communities and the Anglo-Indian community to November 29th, 2022.
Appearing for the petitioners, Senior Advocate Aryama Sundaram submitted that the original petition challenged the validity of the Constitution (79th Amendment) Act, 1999. They have filed a subsequent application to amend the petition to challenge the Constitution (104th Amendment) Act, 2020. The Bench also comprising Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and PS Narasimha allowed the application for amending the petition and asked the centre to file a reply.
The Constitution (79th Amendment) Act, 1999 amended Article 334 of the Constitution of India, 1950. Article 334 grants reservations in the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and the Anglo-Indian community. On January 21st, 2020, Parliament passed the Constitution (104th Amendment) Act, 2019, and yet again extended reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to 80 years. However, the 104th Amendment discontinued reservations for Anglo-Indians in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
The Bench asked the lawyers for both the sides to nominate a nodal counsel to collect and compile documents and judgments and file it prior to the hearing. The Court has asked lawyers appearing for both sides to decide the issues for consideration in order to avoid repetition of arguments.
On July 10th, 2000, Mr. Ashok Kumar Jain filed a petition challenging the validity of the Constitution (79th Amendment) Act, 1999 (79th Amendment), which amended Article 334 of the Constitution of India, 1950. Article 334 grants reservations in the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and the Anglo-Indian community. The provision was initially supposed to operate for 10 years. However, subsequent Amendments to the provision have extended reservations for SC/ST communities to 80 years and for the Anglo-Indian community to 70 years.
On September 2nd, 2003, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court held that the case involved interpretation of the Constitution and referred it to a 5-Judge Constitution Bench. On September 6th, 2018, 15 years after the matter was referred to a Constitution Bench, the petitioners filed an application for an early hearing of the case. The Court heard the application on October 29th, 2018, and passed an Order stating that the matter would be listed and heard when the 5-Judge Constitution Bench assembled.
On August 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court listed the matter for hearing, along with 24 other pending 5-Judge Constitution Bench cases.
Today, on passing the order, the Bench indicated that it will list the cases for direction on November 29th, 2022 to ensure all the pleadings are in order and list the case for hearing immediately ther