Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mandal II Case: Government begins arguments

The Solicitor General, G.E.Vahanvati began his arguments today, giving an outline of his submissions and that of his colleagues. He identified 11 issues, and suggested that Mr.Parasaran would be answering the contentions of Mr.K.K.Venugopal, while Mr.Gopal Subramanium would answer those of Mr.P.P.Rao.

The major thrust of Mr.Vahanvati's submissions this morning was the contention that Articles 15(4) and 16(4) are not exceptions to Articles 15(1) and 16(1), but are emphatic statements of equality, as implicit in Articles 15(1) and 16(1). Both 15(4) and 16(4) begin with the expression, "Nothing in this Article...shall prevent the State". His suggestion was that this very expression is indicative of the emphatic character of this clause.

He also contended that the American doctrines of strict scrutiny and compelling necessity cannot apply to India.

He argued that caste can be the basis to identify class, as many backward castes are centered around certain backward occupations.

He was critical of the argument that many castes have been added to the list of OBCs as part of vote-bank politics, and suggested his compilation clearly shows that every inclusion and rejection of demand for inclusion, is based on objective grounds. As examples, he cited the case of inclusion of only Jats of Rajasthan (excluding two districts) by the NCBC and the Lingayats of Karnataka.

Inequality is easy, but equality is difficult. Equality involves surviving against the current.

I intend to go through Mr.Vahanvati's written submissions, so as to apprecitate his submissions better with the relevant case law.
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