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OBC admissions case referred to CJI for posting before another Bench

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Supreme Court of India - Central Wing

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J VENKATESAN in The Hindu

A two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday referred to Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia the case on the plea for uniform admission norms for OBC students in central universities of excellence for posting before another Bench.

Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik made the request to the CJI after senior counsel P.P. Rao, appearing for an intervener, suggested that the case be heard by a Bench which includes Justice Dalveer Bhandari, who, in his judgment in the OBC quota case, used the expression “cut-off” marks.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by the then CJI, K.G. Balakrishnan, had upheld the 27 per cent quota for the Other Backward Classes in central universities of excellence. Subsequently, another Constitution Bench gave a clarification on cut-off marks.

Mr. Rao submitted before the Justice Raveendran Bench that since the issue involved clarification and interpretation of what was said by Justice Bhandari, either the Constitution Bench should clarify or Justice Bhandari should be included in this Bench or it should go before a Bench having Justice Bhandari.

Justice Raveendran told Mr. Rao: “This is an unknown submission. If it [judgment] is a decision of the Supreme Court then every judge of this court can issue a clarification and interpret the judgment of this court. You can’t say that since the judgment was delivered by a particular judge then it should go to that judge for interpretation. Your plea is unheard of in the Supreme Court.”

He said: “If you want us to recuse [ourselves] then we can do that.” However, whether the matter should go to a three-judge Bench or a constitution Bench, it is for the CJI to decide.

As Mr. Rao reiterated that “normal courtesy is that the clarification and modification of the order should go to the judge who had pronounced it,” Justice Raveendran said, “I am on the verge of retirement. I don’t want to place myself in any controversy. It is an issue that involves sentiments of the people.”

As Justice Raveendran was recusing himself from the matter, senior counsel A. Suba Rao, who appeared for the Centre, said Mr. P.P. Rao was appearing for an intervener and he [Justice Raveendran] need not recuse himself on his plea.

At this, Justice Raveendran said maybe Mr. Rao did not mean what he said, “but he was acting on the instruction of his client.”

The Bench then directed that the matter be placed before the CJI for listing before an appropriate Bench.

Counsel wants Justice Bhandari to be part of Bench hearing the issue

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2300060.ece

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