Wednesday, May 5, 2021

No review on 50% cap on reservation, quota for Marathas invalid: Supreme Court

Supreme Court strikes down Maratha Reservation law for exceeding 50 per cent cap; upholds Indra Sawhney, 102nd Constitutional Amendment

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court quashed Maharashtra law to grant reservation for Marathas in jobs and educational institutions and ruled that there was no need to re-examine its 1992 verdict capping quota at 50 per cent. 
A five-judge Constitution bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat were unanimous on the unconstitutionality of Maratha law and said that the Maratha community can not be declared as socially and educationally backward community to grant them reservation. 
The court also pointed out that there were no exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situation to justify a breach of a 50 per cent cap in granting reservation to Marathas. 
The state government had framed the law on November 30, 2018, granting a 16 per cent quota for Marathas in government jobs and admission in educational institutions. 
While upholding the law, Bombay High Court on June 27 last year directed the government brought it down to 12% for education and 13% for jobs as recommended by a state-appointed backward class commission headed by former HC judge M B Gaikwad. 
Challenging the high court’s, the petitioners contended that the HC misread SC judgments to conclude that there is no stringent ceiling limit of 50% reservation as set out in the 1992 Indra Sawhney case. 

Allowing the appeal, the apex court quashed the high court order.
The main plank of the bunch of petitioners challenging the validity of the Maratha quota is that it took the total reservation way beyond the 50% ceiling on quota put by the SC in its landmark Indra Sawhney judgment in November 1992, while upholding the validity of 27% OBC quota in government jobs, which was later extended to admissions in state-run educational institutions. 
However, the state government said that there was no illegality in giving reservation to the Maratha community and pointed out that many states were providing reservation above 50 per cent, which has not been stayed by SC. 
Various states have also supported the Maharashtra government and pleaded that SC's 1992 verdict by nine-judge bench needed to be re-examined and contended that that 50 per cent cap imposed by judicial verdict should go and they should be allowed to decide on the quantum of quota required. 

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