Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday admitted and ordered notice on a PIL from a service organisation and also a legislator of the ruling DMK, seeking to declare unconstitutional Sec. 57 of the Constitution (the 42nd Amendment) Act 1976 , insofar as it took away the field of education from the State List to the Concurrent List of the Union government.
After impleading the Tamil Nadu government as a party-respondent in the case by itself, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu ordered the notice, returnable in eight weeks, to the state and central governments. The matter will be taken up for hearing after 10 weeks, the bench said.
In his PIL, DMK MLA Dr N Ezhilan, a medical practitioner and a trustee of the 'Aram Seyya Virumbu Trust', challenged Sec. 57 of the Constitution (the 42nd Amendment) Act to the extent it deleted Entry 11 from List II and transferred the subject contained in the said Entry from the State list to the Concurrent list as part of Entry 25, as violative of the federal structure.
He submitted that the reason behind giving exclusive authority to the States on the subject of "Education" was driven by the fact that it is the State which knows the individual needs and aspirations of the people in different areas/localities and is better placed to address the gaps in the system and formulate policies that are tailor-made to suit their needs.
The Constitution framers, in the Constituent Assembly, debated whether the subject should be included in the Union List, Concurrent List or the State List and after thorough discussions, the Assembly had rejected all the proposed amendments and found favour in the argument that 'Education' was primarily a Provincial/State subject and Union should not interfere in this domain.
Accordingly, the Constituent Assembly included "Education" as Entry 11 in List II, making it primarily within the sole domain of the states. The transfer of the subject 'Education' from List II to List III had resulted in violating this intention of the makers of the Constitution and had undermined the federal structure, petitioner contended.
On the face of it, the 42nd amendment, to the extent it took away the exclusive executive/legislative right of the States and made their status subordinate to the Union government's executive/legislative powers, is therefore violative of the basic structure of federalism and is liable to be struck down, the petitioner said....