Chennai: The Madras High Court has ordered issuance of notice to the Centre and suo motu included the Tamilnadu government as one of the Respondents on a writ petition challenging a Constitutional Amendment under which the ‘Education’ was transferred from the State List to the Concurrent List.
The petition was filed by Chennai-based Aram Seyya Virumbu Trust, which provides legal assistance to the poor, challenging Section 57 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act of 1976, through which the subject ‘education’ was transferred from the State list to the Concurrent list, which contains subjects on which both the Centre and the States can enact laws.
The Constitutional amendment has been challenged on the grounds that it had resulted in upsetting the federal structure which is a basic feature of the Constitution.
After suo motu including the State Government as one of the respondents in the case, the First Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu directed the Centre and the State government to file their counters within eight weeks and posted the case for further hearing after the next 10 weeks.
The Bench ordered issuance of notice after hearing petitioner’s counsel N R Elango and Additional Solicitor General R Sankaranarayanan who pointed out that moving a subject from one to list to another in the 7th Schedule of the Constitution could not be done unilaterally by the Parliament and that it requires a special procedure of obtaining ratification by the States.
Denying any threat to the federal structure, the ASG said education had been moved only from State list to Concurrent list and not to the Union list.
After making these oral submissions, he sought time to file a detailed counter affidavit following which the court ordered notice and decided to take up further hearing after the next 10 weeks.