In an important judgment, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the 16 per cent reservation granted to the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions by the erstwhile BJP government in Maharashtra in 2018. The top court said that the reservation to the community exceeded the 50 per cent cap.
The verdict came from a five-judge bench that examined the constitutional validity of the reservation granted to the Maratha community. The bench, which had reserved its verdict last month, said that states have no power to add any caste to the socially economically backward caste list due to the amendment made by the Parliament.
It added that states can only identify the castes and suggest to the Centre. Only President can add the caste to SEBC list guided by the National Backward Classes Commission.
Appointments already made won’t be disturbed
The court has clarified that all admissions made to post-graduate medical courses and appointments already made under the new quota law shall not be disturbed by its ruling today.
The constitution bench also said there was no need to revisit the 50 per cent cap on reservation imposed by the Supreme Court in the 1992 Mandal judgment.
HC had upheld Maratha quota
In 2018, the BJP government in Maharashtra had passed the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act that provided 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community. The Bombay High Court had upheld the quota in its verdict in 2019 while hearing a petition that contended that the Maharashtra government’s decision amounted to providing “permanent crutches” to the Maratha community.
When the same was challenged before the Supreme Court, it had stayed the Bombay High Court’s verdict.
While the petitioners argued that the Maratha quota was unconstitutional as it results in Maharashtra’s total reservation exceeding 50 per cent, the Union government which was in favour of the quota said that states can grant reservation and the decision is constitutional.
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