SC Seeks Maharashtra's Response On Pleas Challenging Maratha Reservation

The apex court did not stay the Bombay high court order upholding the law, but said the reservation could not be made operational with retrospective effect from 2014.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court sought the Maharashtra government’s response on Friday on pleas challenging a Bombay high court order that upheld the grant of reservations to the Maratha community in education and jobs.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not stay the Bombay high court order upholding the constitutional validity of the Maratha quota law, but made it clear that the aspect allowing the reservation for Marathas with a retrospective effect from 2014 would not be made operational.

The bench was hearing two appeals, including one filed by J. Laxman Rao Patil challenging the high court order that upheld the constitutional validity of the quota for the Maratha community in education and government jobs in Maharashtra.

The Bombay high court, in its June 27 order, had said the 50% cap on total reservations imposed by the Supreme Court could be exceeded in exceptional circumstances.

It had also accepted the Maharashtra government’s argument that the Maratha community was socially and educationally backward, and it was duty-bound to take steps for its progress.

Also read: Why the Bombay HC Judgment on Maratha Reservation Is Inherently Flawed

The high court had said that though the reservation was valid, its quantum – 16% – was not justifiable and it should be reduced to 12% and 13%, as recommended by the State Backward Classes Commission. The commission had recommended a 12% quota in education and a 13% quota in jobs for Marathas.

The high court’s verdict came on a bunch of petitions challenging the Maharashtra government’s decision to grant 16 per cent reservation to Marathas.

On November 30, 2018, the Maharashtra legislature passed a Bill granting the 16% reservation to Marathas.

The community, which accounts for roughly a third of Maharashtra’s population, is politically dominant.

According to the 102nd amendment to the Constitution, reservation can be granted only if a particular community is named in the list prepared by the president.

The report submitted by the State Backward Classes Commission was based on quantifiable and contemporaneous data and was correct in classifying the Maratha community as socially and educationally backward, the high court had said in its verdict.

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