Thursday, August 20, 2009

Union of India v. Ramesh Ram: Notes on oral arguments before the SC Constitution Bench

[Readers are requested to first read the previous posts on the subject, to familiarise themselves with the issues]

Solicitor-General: Both the Tribunal and the Madras High Court have erroneously assumed that the relaxed category is the reserved category. The Civil Service Rule 16[2] is compliant with Article 335. The Rule enables use of transparent criteria in reservations which will not impair efficiency in services. There are two sets of people in reserved category: those with higher marks and those who need relaxation of marks to get into services. If under Article 335, (read Proviso to Art.335) relaxation is implicit, UOI assumes that if you are under relaxed category, then you are not inconsistent with efficiency. People under relaxed category can also perform without affecting efficiency.

In Nagaraj, the Supreme Court has held that efficiency in Art.335 is a guided expression. In Indra Sawhney, the Court held that the nature of relaxation does not determine the purpose of Art.16(4). Madras High Court and Tribunal have held that the moment you are in general list, you are out of the reserved list. According to Nagaraj,(Paragraphs 104 and 106 cited) efficiency is a variable factor and it is for the State to determine it. The High Court did not analyse it with reference to Nagaraj or Article 335. Article 16(4) has many dimensions including Article 335. Rule 16(2) is not violative of Article 16(4) at all.

The matter remained part-heard, and the names of the counsel who have so far argued are available here.

Additional Materials: The Hindu story on August 20.
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