NEW DELHI: In a setback for Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the 27 per cent reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local body elections in the state until further orders.
A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar passed the order on petitions challenging the Maharashtra ordinance which introduced 27 per cent OBC quota in local body elections and the consequent notifications by the State Election Commission to give effect to the same.
The bench ordered that the State Election Commission can’t be permitted to proceed with the poll programme already notified in respect of OBC reservation category. The bench, however, made it clear that election process for the other seats would continue.
During the hearing on the plea, the counsel appearing for the State Election Commission said that local body election has been notified and the nomination process will be closed on Tuesday. “We will stay only the 27 per cent election, rest of the election will continue,” the apex court said.
The bench observed that the 27 per cent OBC quota should not have been implemented without setting up a commission and without collecting data regarding inadequacy of representation in local governments.
The apex court also ordered that the poll panel should not notify the reserved seats in the OBC category for any mid-term or other general elections till further orders.
The Supreme Court said the Maharashtra government brought the ordinance without following the triple tests. The triple tests are - Establish a commission to conduct empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of the backwardness qua local bodies, within the state; specify the proportion of reservation to be provisioned local body wise in light of recommendations of the commission; in any case such reservation shall not exceed aggregate of 50 per cent of the total seats reserved in favour of SCs/STs/OBCs taken together.