New Delhi: The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for November 21 to address pleas challenging the constitutionality of extending reservation benefits to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies beyond the originally envisioned 10-year period in the Constitution.
A five-judge Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, will assess the validity of the 104th Constitutional Amendment Act, which extended SC and ST quotas in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies for an additional 10 years.
The court clarified that it will not delve into the validity of prior extensions granted for SC and ST reservations through earlier amendments. The bench, which also includes Justices A.S. Bopanna, M.M. Sundresh, J.B. Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, stated, "The validity of the 104th amendment shall be determined as it applies to the SCs and the STs since the reservations for Anglo Indians have ended after 70 years from the Constitution's commencement."
The title of the proceedings will be "In Re: Article 334 of the Constitution."
Senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, representing the petitioners, raised the overarching issue of whether the constitutional amendments extending reservation periods violated the Constitution's basic structure.
Article 334 of the Constitution addresses the special provision for reserving seats for SCs and STs, as well as the special representation of the Anglo-Indian community through nomination in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies, which ceases after a specified period.
The Supreme Court referred this matter to a five-judge bench on September 2, 2003, following a series of petitions challenging the validity of the 79th Constitution Amendment Act of 1999, which provided reservation to SC/ST in Parliament and state Assemblies.