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Upper caste reservation: Constitution does not provide for it, says Retired SC Justice Chelameswar

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Published: January 24, 2019 8:06:48 AM

Upper caste reservation: Retired Supreme Court Justice Jasti Chelameswar has said that the Constitution doesn't have a provision that enables the MPs to enact a law to grant reservation to economically weaker sections (EWS).

Upper caste reservationUpper caste reservation: Constitution does not provide for it, says Retired SC Justice Chelameswar

Upper caste reservation: Retired Supreme Court Justice Jasti Chelameswar has said that the Constitution doesn’t have a provision that enables the MPs to enact a law to grant reservation to economically weaker sections (EWS). According to a report in The Indian Express, Justice Chelameswar, who retired as the second most senior Judge of the Supreme Court on June 22 last year, said that it is to be seen upto what extent the current programme will sustain in court if challenged.

Justice Chelameswar said that the “text of the Constitution only enables the Parliament or the Legislative Assembly to make reservations for socially and educationally backward segments of society not economically weaker sections”.

“To what extent the current programme will be sustained in court, I do not know and it is to be seen. I can only say that the text of the Constitution does not provide for it,” he said while responding to a question asked by a student at IIT-Bombay where he delivered the first Ambedkar Memorial Lecture titled ‘Seven Decades of the Constitution’.

Earlier this month, the Parliament passed the 124th Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill to add new clauses in Article 15 and 16 to grant 10% reservation to EWS in the general category.

Meanwhile, a petition has been filed in the top court challenging the Bill to amend the Constitution. The bill has already received presidential assent.

Justice Chelameswar was among the four judges who had in January last year held an unprecedented press conference questioning then CJI Dipak Misra’s style of functioning. The remaining three justices were Ranjan Gogoi (now CJI), Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

When Justice Chelameswar was asked about the post-retirement government posts to judges, he said, “It was my personal choice (to refuse any government post after retirement). The difficulty is that lots of laws stipulate the requirement of retired judges or sitting judges. You cannot then say no judge can be appointed.”

Justice Chelameswar had before retirement asserted that ‘he will not be seeking any employment from the government following his retirement’.

The remark also comes in the backdrop of a controversy over Justice AK Sikri getting a government offer last year for the post-retirement assignment.

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