Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mandal II hearing: Ram Jethmalani argues before the Constitution Bench

Today, Ram Jethmalani, counsel for Rashtriya Janata Dal, began his submissions. He chose the interim order of Justice Pasayat staying the implementation of the OBC reservations in Central Government institutions for his attack, as in his view, the Bench had in that order sanctified the petitioners' scandalous and offensive allegations that the OBC reservations produced intellectual pygmies. Making such allegations in pleadings is not permitted, and on that ground alone, the Bench must have rejected the petition, and penalised the petitioners, he said. Justice Pasayat, who was visibly embarrassed by this unexpected attack from Jethmalani, hastened to say that it is wrong to suggest that the Bench sanctified such allegations. At this stage, Mr.Parasaran also intervened to say that it is the usual practice to refer to such pleadings in the order. Jethmalani, however, stuck to his stand and told Justice Pasayat, that he had unconsciously lent some kind of respectability to such allegations.

Jethmalani then referred to an observation made by the Court in a previous case that PILs are not exempt from rules of pleadings, and they have to be precise and must contain basic cause of action. Justice Pasayat replied that the Bench must take note of the rival contentions. It cannot be called sanctifying, he said.

Jethmalani again returned to the interim order which referred to the petitioners' threat to the Bench that there would be a civil war and anarchy if OBC quota continued. He said that on this ground alone, the petition must have been thrown out, as the petitioner is not entitled to a hearing because he has issued a threat to the Bench.

More on his submissions later.
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