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Supreme Court explains when cases can be transferred from High Courts to itself under Article 139A

The case pertained to the issue of 10 per cent vertical reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the arena of public employment.

Shruti Mahajan

In a judgment passed today, the Supreme Court explained when it can transfer a case can from the High Courts to itself under Article 139A of the Constitution of India.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose, while deciding a transfer petition, explained the position in law on this aspect.

aniruddha bose
aniruddha bose

The case pertained to a writ petition pending before the Punjab & Haryana High Court touching upon the issue of 10 per cent vertical reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the arena of public employment.

The petitioner in the case had sought for this plea to be transferred from the High Court to the Supreme Court on the ground that similar petitions addressing near identical issues are pending before the Apex Court for adjudication.

The transfer plea was opposed by the State of Haryana, which contended that pending pleas on similar issues do not warrant transfer of the matter to the Supreme Court.

The Court ultimately ruled in favour of transferring the case to itself, stating that the conditions stipulated in Article 139A for the transfer of cases from the High Court to the Supreme Court stand fulfilled,

It was noted that such transfer is permissible if:

  • The question of law pending before the Supreme Court is already substantially similar to the question of law raised in the matter pending before the High Court; AND

  • The Court is satisfied that the question of law pending before itself is one of substantial importance to the general public.

In its judgment, the Court added,

"Such satisfaction can be on this Court’s own motion, on an application made by the Attorney General or on the basis of an application made by a party to any such case."
Supreme Court

The question of EWS reservation is similar to the issue involved in the pending matter of Ms. Dulari Mahesh Basagre and Anr, it was pointed out in the judgment. Given that the question is of importance to the general public, the Court ruled in favour of transferring the case to itself.

"Article 139A vests this Court with jurisdiction to direct transfer or withdrawal of a case pending in a High Court to this Court on two grounds, to which I have referred earlier. On satisfaction of these conditions, this Court can make direction in exercise of its discretion for withdrawing the case for disposal of the same by itself. The manner in which such discretion would be exercised would vary from case to case."

The case thus stands transferred to the Supreme Court.

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