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Supreme Court to look into extension of reservation to SC/ST in Lok Sabha, state assemblies

The top court clarified that it will not go into the validity of the earlier extensions given for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes reservations through earlier amendments. NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine whether Parliament can use its constituent power to extend the deadline for SC/ST reservation in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Article 334 of the Constitution deals with the time period regarding the ceasing of reservation guaranteed to SCs/STs and Anglo-Indians in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The reservation was initially for a period of 10 years when the Constitution was enforced in 1950 but was extended from 1969. The Parliament by way of the Constitution (104th Amendment) Act in 2019 had fixed 2030 as the deadline. A five-judge bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud clarified that the court would only confine its examination pertaining to the Constitution (104th Amendment) Act in 2019 which fixed 2030 as the deadline to end the reservation for SCs/STs in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies and would not go into the removal of reserved seats for the Anglo-Indians. "The validity of the 104th amendment shall be determined to the extent that it applies to the SCs and the STs since the reservations for Anglo Indians has come to an end after the expiration of 70 years from the commencement of the Constitution," the bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna, MM Sundresh, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra said. "Whether the exercise of the constituent power of amendment to extend the period prescribed for the expiration of reservation under Article 334 of the Constitution is constitutionally valid," the bench said and fixed November 21 as the date for the next hearing. Petitioner Ashok Kumar Jain appearing through senior advocate CA Sundaram told the court that the grant of repeated extensions to certain communities resulted in depriving the electorate of their right to choice of candidates The top court had referred the matter to a five-judge bench on September 2, 2003, on a batch of pleas challenging the validity of the 79th Constitution Amendment Act of 1999 providing reservation to SC/ST in Parliament and state Assemblies. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)