NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, dismissed the Maharashtra government’s plea seeking direction to the Centre to provide socio-economic caste census on OBCs. This was after the Centre submitted an affidavit saying that data collected in 2011 census is flawed.
The court directed there will be no OBC reservation in local body elections in Maharashtra for want of OBC data in the state and ordered the state election commission to convert 27 per cent reserved seats for OBC into general category. It was also asked to issue a fresh notification.
Earlier this month, the court had stayed the Maharashtra government’s decision to grant 27 per cent reservation for the OBC, which was brought by an ordinance, in the local body elections until further orders.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar directed the SEC to renotify the OBC seats as general category, so that polls for those seats can take place as per law along with elections for the remaining 73 per cent. The bench said the SEC must issue fresh notification for the remaining 27 per cent seats reserved for OBC as general category and commence the election process for them along with the remaining 73 per cent, and declare the results for both polls simultaneously.
The court slated the next hearing for third week of January. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing one of the intervenors, emphasised that the OBC cannot be forced to suffer due to the inaction of the state government or the Centre.
The Maharashtra counsel urged the court to put on hold the entire election, and in the meanwhile, it can direct the SEC to fast-track the process of data collection and review the matter after three months.