Ebene Magazine – SC verdict on Maratha reservation in Maharashtra hi


New Delhi: The Supreme Court constitution bench will give its decision tomorrow on the petitions challenging the Maratha reservation of Maharashtra. The court had also considered this aspect during the hearing whether the decision that upholds the reservation limit up to 50 percent also needs to be reconsidered. The court had also heard that whether states can give reservation by declaring any class as backward on their behalf, or the center has this right after the 102nd amendment of the constitution?

A bench of 5 judges sitting under the chairmanship of Justice Ashok Bhushan admitted during the hearing that the case would have an impact on all the states. Therefore, the court issued notice to all the states. Most states had said that the limit of reservation should not be decided by the court. At the same time, the central government had supported Maharashtra and said that the 102nd amendment in the constitution does not dissipate the legislative power of the state. By adding Article 342A to the constitution, the state’s power to identify socially and educationally backward sections has not been snatched away. In fact, some anti-Maratha reservation lawyers had argued that after Article 342A was added to the constitution, the state did not have the right to declare any caste backward on its behalf and give it reservation.

In 2018, the Maharashtra government gave Maratha class 16 percent reservation in government jobs and higher education. The basis behind this reservation was made for the report of Maharashtra Backward Classes Commission headed by Justice NG Gaikwad. The Maratha reservation, which was given separately from the 27 percent reservation given to the OBC castes, violated the decision of the Supreme Court which was asked to keep the reservation limit to a maximum of 50 percent.

This reservation was challenged on 2 main grounds in the Bombay High Court. First, there is no proper basis behind it. It has been given only for political gain. Second, it violates the Supreme Court judgment of Indira Sawhney vs. Government of India given in 1992 to keep the total reservation up to 50 percent. In June 2019, the High Court ruled in favor of this reservation. The High Court accepted that reservation can be given to a class in exceptional circumstances. However, reservation was reduced to 13 percent in jobs and 12 percent in higher education.

Anti-reservation activists reached the Supreme Court against the High Court decision. During the hearing, the court put an interim moratorium on Maratha reservation. The decision of the constitution bench will decide whether this ban will be removed or not. In the detailed hearing, a bench of 5 judges considered these things: –

* Was there really such an extraordinary situation in Maharashtra that Maratha class should be given separate reservation, beyond the prescribed limit of reservation?

* Does the 102nd Amendment of the Constitution and Article 324A violate the authority of the State Legislative Assembly? Is this amendment and paragraph valid?

* Does the Indira Sawhney judgment of 1992 need a rethink? Should the decision of the Bench of 9 judges holding 50 percent of the total reservation be sent to a larger bench for reconsideration?

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