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SC queries whether cases on quota in the private sector can be heard together

The Supreme Court on Friday asked whether parties connected with cases involving quota in private sector – based on domicile – can be heard together.

A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R, Gavai said: “If the matters are pending before other high courts, we can hear the larger issue after calling for the papers from high courts…”

The top court was hearing an appeal by the Haryana government challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court interim stay, on its law to give 75 per cent reservation to the youths belonging to the state in the private sector.

The bench said Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh government policies granting reservation on the basis of domicile have been challenged in the high courts. It further queried the parties in the Haryana matter, whether matters of other states could be brought to the top court for adjudication along with Haryana government’s policy.

The top court asked parties, including the Haryana government, to find out the pending cases in high courts and inform it on Monday whether they are agreeable on hearing matters together.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Haryana government, submitted at the beginning of the hearing that only a handful of people are opposed to the state’s policy.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said he will consult with his clients. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing one of the parties, emphasised that the matter requires examination by the top court.

In a special leave petition, the Haryana government contended that the interim order was passed in the teeth of law laid down by the top court in Bhavesh D. Parish vs Union of India (2000), and also in violation of the principles of natural justice. “It is submitted that the hearing granted by the High Court was mere empty formality, whereby, the High Court with a predetermined conclusion opened the hearing by saying that they Act is liable to be stayed and thereafter did not afford any opportunity to the law officer appearing on behalf of the state of Haryana,” said the plea.

“Violation of principles of natural justice is manifest from the fact the entire hearing in the matter concluded within one minute,” it added.

On February 3, in a setback to the BJP-JJP government in Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the state government law to give 75 per cent reservation to the youths belonging to the state in the private sector. The law under the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 is applicable in industries having more than 10 employees.

In a petition, the Faridabad Industrial Association said the impugned Act was against the provisions of Constitution and also against the basic principle of meritocracy that acted as the foundation for businesses to grow and remain competitive.

Source: Business Standard