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Madras HC issues notice to centre on writ petition against transferring education from State to Concurrent list

- September 14, 2021

Chennai, September 14 (BPNS)

The Madras High Court on Tuesday issued notice to Union government on a writ petition filed by Arram Seyya Virumbu trust challenging Section 57 of the Constitution (Fourty Second Amendment) Act of 1976. The trust in its petition said that it was through this Section that the subject “education” was transferred from the State list to the Concurrent list.

The trust has challenged the constitution amendment on the grounds that it had resulted in upsetting the federal structure that is a basic feature of the constitution.

Dr.Ezhilam Naganathan MLA who filed the writ petition on behalf of the trust urged the central government to strike down Section 57 of the 1976 Act and consequently restore the position of education as a state subject.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu suomotto included the state government as a respondent to the case. The bench ordered the state and Central governments to file their counter-affidavits within eight weeks and also said that it will hear the case after ten weeks.

Senior Counsel, N.R. Elango while appearing for the petitioner said that moving a subject from one list to another in the seventh schedule of the Constitution could not be done unilaterally by the Parliament. He argued that it requires a special procedure of obtaining ratification by the states.

The Additional Solicitor General,  R. Sankaranarayanan who appeared on behalf of the Union Government said that there was no threat to the federal structure envisaged in the constitution. He said that education has been moved from State list to Concurrent list and not to the Union list. The ASG sought time to file a detailed counter affidavit to which the bench directed the central and state governments to produce the affidavit within eight weeks.

The trust also argued that in large democracies like Canada, Australia, and the United States of America, education continued to be treated as a State /provincial subject and said that implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) will lead to a situation wherein the autonomy of the state in the field of education will be completely taken away. It argued that it would strike at the root of the federal structure.