SC to hear Maratha reservation petition on July 15, no stay on state lawUpdated: Jul 08, 2020 01:07 IST
The Supreme Court (SC) will undertake hearings on a day-to-day basis in the Maratha reservation case following a plea made by petitioners challenging the constitutional validity of the Maharashtra law granting quota to the community in education and jobs.
The Apex court has asked all the counsels to submit and specify the time they need to argue. It will take up hearing on petitions now on July 15 and may pass an interim order on the matter.
The three-judge bench led by Justice L Nageswara Rao heard the petitions, including one challenging reservation benefit to postgraduate medical students from the Maratha community in admission for this academic year on Tuesday.
The court indicated that the petition challenging the validity of the law can be heard on a day-to-day basis following a plea from the petitioners. The court also seemed amenable to conduct physical hearings after senior advocate Shyam Divan insisted on it. Mukul Rohatgi, former attorney general of India, who is representing Maharashtra government, too supported the demand.
Petitioner Vinod Patil, in his plea, had demanded the case to be transferred to the five-judge bench. However, the court ruled that out in the current scenario.
Public works department (PWD) minister Ashok Chavan, who is heading a cabinet sub-committee formed to review progress of legal matters for Maratha reservation and take decisions, said the Apex court again refused to grant a stay on the law for reservation. “The petitioners had demanded a stay on reservation but the battery of senior lawyers led by Mukul Rohatgi for the state argued effectively,” said Chavan.
He said that the Apex court will now hear petitions on granting reservation benefits in admissions for postgraduate medical courses on July 15. “The state will fight to ensure that the students from the community will continue to get reservation benefits in admissions,” he said.
The erstwhile BJP-led state government has granted a 16% reservation to the Maratha community by enacting the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, in government jobs and education, in November 2018. The Act was upheld by the Bombay high court in June 2019, but it said that the quantum of 16% was not justifiable, and should be reduced to 12%-13%, as recommended by the State Backward Classes Commission in its report.
Later, it was challenged in the SC. On February 5, the SC, while hearing a bunch of petitions against Maratha reservation, refused to stay the high court order.
Recently, the state government reduced reservation quota to 12% for students from the Maratha community for junior college admissions from this academic year. The decision was taken following the order issued by the high court.