Passed in the dark: MPs flay Kabir's AIIMS order, daon-pench by judges

KabirFormer Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir

Cutting across party lines, MPs on Monday criticised the Supreme Court's recent ruling against caste-based reservation in appointment of faculty for specialty and super-specialty courses in engineering and medical colleges, including at AIIMS, with some even questioning then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir's decision to deliver the order on the last day of his tenure.

"Altamas Kabir, then Chief Justice of India, was going to retire. He delivered the order in the darkness of the evening (shaam ke andhere mein)," said JD(U) MP Sharad Yadav, asking the government to bring a constitutional amendment in parliament to "nullify" the court verdict.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha during zero hour on the first day of the monsoon session, Yadav said: "Constitution bench always does good work in matters of corruption but whenever parliament takes some steps to remove social inequality, these people always play "daon-pench" (tricks) to obviate it. They always do something so that parliament does not function."

Emphasising that the then CJI delivered the order on his last day, Congress MP P L Punia said: "I had learnt that there was going to be a hearing in the last week and there was going to be some ghapla (wrongdoing). I appealed to the law minister that there should not be any hearing of the case in the last 10 days as arguments could not be completed and a decision could not be given. I want to know whether the future of the country will be decided by five people or by parliament, which represents the people?"

Asking the government to take steps to "nullify" the SC ruling, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said, "After the Supreme Court verdict, will deprived people remain peons? Will they remain sweepers? This is a conspiracy..."

On July 18, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then CJI Kabir had passed the order, emphasising that "the very concept of reservation implies mediocrity" and there had to be certain cases where merit alone would count.

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