SC raps Centre for ‘extreme stands’ against Oppn-ruled states

The court said that the Centre government does not take action against states ruled by it the BJP

NEW DELHI | Updated: 26 July, 2023 12:42 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In a strong rebuke, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said the Central government takes “extreme stands” against Opposition-ruled states but keeps mum when it comes to wrongdoings in BJP-ruled states.

The court made the observation during a contempt plea over the Centre’s failure to provide reservations for women in Nagaland, where BJP is a partner in the ruling coalition.

“Why do you not act against state governments from your own party? You take extreme stands against other state governments not amenable to you, but do nothing when it is your government in the state,” remarked a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

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Justice SK Kaul said, “Reservation is a concept of affirmative action. Women’s reservation is based on that. How do you get out of the constitutional provision? I do not understand this.”

The court further said, “There is the same political dispensation there, so you cannot say that politically you are not on the same page. Do not make us say that the Centre is not implementing the Constitution. You must play an active role to ensure its implementation. You are the same political dispensation.”

The apex court set September 26 as deadline for the implementation of the women’s reservation in Nagaland even as additional solicitor general KM Nataraj, appearing for the Central government, sought more time to ensure compliance.

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The court particularly noted that Nagaland, a state with a commendable status of women in education, economy, and society, should not be denied reservation for women in local body elections.

The constitutional amendment of 1992, providing for women’s reservation, has not been implemented in the state, and the court insisted that the Centre cannot wash its hands off the issue, considering the political alignment between the Centre and the state government.

The bench set a deadline of September 26 for the Centre and the state to implement the constitutional provision, despite the opposition from some Naga groups who claim interference with their tradition and customary practices.

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