SC seeks Centre’s response on Maharashtra plea for OBC census data
The state government has invoked the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court after having decided to conduct a socio-economic and caste census across the state by the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes
The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave Centre a month’s time to respond to a petition filed by the Maharashtra government seeking Census data on other backward classes (OBC) in the state with a view to reserving seats for these communities in the state local bodies.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna that based on discussions held with the Registrar General and Census Commissioner and the ministry of social justice and empowerment, the Centre would like to put its stand in writing for which he sought three weeks.
The bench posted the matter on September 23 giving more than three weeks to reply to the state’s petition. As the exercise of collecting data of OBCs is tedious, the state had approached the top court seeking information about OBCs in Maharashtra that was available with the Centre during the 2011 Census.
The state government has invoked the extraordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court after having decided to conduct a socio-economic and caste census across the state by the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes (MSCBC).
The Maharashtra legislative assembly had last month passed a resolution in the House to approach the Centre for 2011 census data in order to compile empirical data on the OBC population in the state. The 2011 census data has not been released till date by the Centre citing errors.
Earlier in March this year, the Supreme Court while considering the extension of 27% OBC quota under the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 to local bodies in Akola, Washim, Nandurbar, Dhule and Nagpur had held that reservation in these local bodies (for SC/ST/OBC) should not exceed 50% cap mandated by the 1992 Indra Sahwney ruling by the top court.
The top court set aside the quota requiring the state to first set up a backward classes commission to compile empirical data on the number and extent of backwardness of OBC population within the state. Against this decision, the state government filed a review petition that was dismissed in May this year.