Supreme Court quashes 50% Maratha reservation in education, jobs
The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled out any possibility of reconsidering the 1992 judgement in Indra Sawhney (Mandal Commission) case, which fixed 50% ceiling on reservation in jobs and education.
A five-judge Constitution bench presided over by Justice Ashok Bhushan rejected a contention by several States to revisit the 1992 judgement, due to subsequent developments and change in social dynamics in all these years.
By a majority view, the bench ruled that a state government can't decide socially and educationally backward classes. The Centre alone had the power to do so, it said.
The bench, also comprising L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat, struck down the Maharasthra Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, for having breached the 50% cap determined by a nine-judge bench in 1992.
The Maharasthra law provided a 12 to 13% quota for Maratha in jobs and education.
The court, for its part, declared the Maratha community cannot be declared as socially and educationally backward to provide them quota.
It held that the 2018 state law violated the right to equality.
In its judgement, the top court upheld the validity of 102 nd Amendment Act, which granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
The top court allowed a batch of petitions filed against the Bombay High Court verdict which upheld 12 to 13% reservations for Marathas in jobs and education.
Several states, including Karnataka, have favoured for more than 50% reservation in jobs and education, depending upon the necessity and quantifiable data. They contended that the 1992 judgement was required to be reconsidered due to subsequent developments and change in social dynamics.
They had cited 103rd Constitutional Amendment on 10% Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota, to contend the Constitution itself now permitted reservation beyond 50%.
However, those opposing the Maratha quota said wherever Parliament wanted to overcome the Indra Sawhney judgement, it has already done by way of amendments. If it had to revisit 50% ceiling too, the same would have been revisited too by the Constitutional Amendment, they said.
The Centre, for its part, supported the Maharasthra law for quota to Marathas. It also maintained 102nd Amendment did not take away states' power and rights to identify backward classes.