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Quota clash averted

New Delhi, Oct. 18: The threat of a conflict between the legislature and the judiciary over a Supreme Court instruction to submit to it a parliamentary report on reservation in higher education has waned.

In a formal order today, the court noted that the government had expressed willingness to share the report on the 27 per cent quota for other backward classes with the court.

Earlier this week, the court had appeared to virtually ask the government to place the report in a “sealed cover” before it. It triggered a furore across the political spectrum with allegations that the court was “infringing” on the domain of Parliament.

The written order, made available today, however, recorded that Gopal Subramaniam, the additional solicitor-general appearing for the government, had volunteered to place the report before the court.

“Assurance is given by him that a copy of the standing committee’s report shall be placed in a sealed cover before this court,” said the brief order.

Earlier, Justice Arijit Pasayat, while dictating the order, had said the report should be “placed on record in sealed cover while deliberations on the issue may go on”.

With the government voluntarily agreeing to give a copy, it now seems the report will be made available to the court as it is submitted in Parliament when it enters the public domain.

A House committee submits its report to Parliament and not to the government. Therefore, it is not the government’s prerogative to give it to anyone before it reaches Parliament.

The court order released today said the parliamentary report on the OBC quota, to introduce which a bill has been moved, would be placed in the House in the winter session.

The committee met today and decided that the report would be given to Parliament after it was finalised.

CPM politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP Brinda Karat, a member of the committee, said: “The court cannot intervene at this stage. Once Parliament approves, it is up to the government to decide.”

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