NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday passed an interim stay on reservation for the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions in Maharashtra.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao referred the matter to a larger bench, to be set up by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, for final adjudication.
However, the bench said those who have availed the reservation shall not be affected. The SC is seized of a batch of petitions challenging the SEBC Act, which provides for reservation to Marathas.
The court heard detailed arguments of senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Mukul Rohatgi and Gopal Sankaranarayanan for various parties.
The Maharashtra Assembly had passed the SEBC Act, 2018 granting 16% reservation to Marathas beyond the 50% ceiling imposed in the Supreme Court’s 1992 verdict in the Indra Shawney case.
The Bombay High Court had on June 27, 2019 upheld reservation for Marathas in the state but quashed the 16%, terming it “not justifiable”.
The high court had ruled that it should not exceed 12% for education and 13% for government jobs as recommended by Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission.
The HC had said the 50% cap on total reservations imposed by the SC could be exceeded in exceptional cases. It had accepted the Maharashtra government’s argument that the Maratha community was socially and educationally backward, and the state was duty-bound to take steps for its upliftment. The high court’s decision was challenged before the Supreme Court.