Maratha quota: SC agrees to urgent hearing of petitions
Five petitions, which have challenged a Bombay high court order from June upholding the constitutional validity of the Maratha quota, are awaiting listing for a hearing.Updated: Jul 30, 2019 09:24 IST
The Supreme Court (SC) agreed on Monday to consider giving an urgent hearing to petitions challenging the constitutional validity of a Maharashtra law that granted reservation to the Maratha community in education and jobs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submissions of a lawyer that the petitions were not getting listed for hearing.
“You give the memo. We will look into it,” said the bench.
Five petitions, which have challenged a Bombay high court order from June upholding the constitutional validity of the Maratha quota, are awaiting listing for a hearing. In a June 27 order, the Bombay high court had upheld the constitutional validity of reservations in jobs and education for the Maratha community, but trimmed the quantum of the quota from 16% to 12% in education and 13% in jobs, as recommended by the State Backward Classes Commission.
The high court had said it was aware that granting the Maratha quota breached the 50% limit on caste-based quotas clamped by the Supreme Court in a landmark 1992 judgment.
“However, in exceptional circumstances, the 50 per cent (limit) can be exceeded if it is based on quantifiable data,” the court had held.
One of the petitions, filed by lawyer Sanjeet Shukla, argues that the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, which grants the Maratha quota, breached the 50% ceiling on reservation.
The apex court has refused to stay the high court order but clarified that the quota would not be made operational with retrospective effect from 2014. This restraint order was imposed after the court was informed that the state had notified implementation of the act retrospectively.
The Maratha community, which roughly forms a third of Maharashtra’s 114 million people, has demanded reservations for decades, and staged large protests and marches that brought major cities, including the state capital Mumbai, to a standstill in the past three years.
First Published: Jul 30, 2019 02:46 IST