The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would first examine the constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent reservation to EWS in admissions and jobs before hearing appeals against a high court verdict which had set aside a local law granting quota to Muslims. A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justices Dinesh Maheshwari, S Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi and J B Pardiwala said it would decide the procedural aspects and other details on September 6 and commence the hearing on the pleas from September 13.
The Centre, through the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019, introduced the provision for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) reservation in admissions and public services. The top court will also hear the appeals of the state government and other such pleas against the Andhra Pradesh High Court verdict which had set aside the local law granting quota to Muslims.
A five-Judge Bench of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, by four different opinions, had declared as unconstitutional and violative of Articles 15(4) and 16(4) (State’s power to grant quota to socially and educationally backward classes) of the Constitution, the Andhra Pradesh Reservation of Seats in the Educational Institutions and of appointments/posts in the Public Services under the State to Muslim Community Act, 2005. Nineteen petitions, including the appeal of the state government, have been filed challenging the high court verdict quashing the quota for Muslims in admissions and jobs in the state.
The Constitution bench said since the issues are overlapping, it would take up the pleas relating to EWS quota first followed by the matters relating to Muslim reservation law. It asked four lawyers, Shadan Farasat, Nachiketa Joshi, Mahfooz Nazki and Kanu Agarwal, to act as nodal advocates to ensure smooth handling of pleadings including the filing of common compilations of documents in the Apex Court.