- The top court said there was no valid ground to breach 50% reservation in the state.
- Today’s ruling would not affect post-graduate medical courses or appointments made under the new quota law.
- The BJP government passed the SEBC Act in 2018, which gave the Maratha community a 16% reservation.
The Supreme Court of India today cancelled Maharashtra’s 2018 reservation for the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions, stating that it exceeded 50% cap imposed earlier.
The 16 percent reservation introduced by the previous BJP government in Maharashtra violated equality, according to a five-judge bench examining the constitutional validity of the quota. The bench was comprised of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Ashok Bhushan, Hemant Gupta, S Abdul Nazeer, and S Ravindra Bhat.
The top court said, “Due to the amendment made by parliament, states do not have authority to add any caste to the socially economically backward caste list.” The Court also said, “States only have the right to recognize castes and make recommendations to the Central government… Only the President of India has the authority to add a caste to the SEBC list, which is regulated by the National Backward Classes Commission.”
It did, however, state that all admissions to post-graduate medical courses and appointments already made under the new quota law will be unaffected by today’s decision.
The constitution bench also stated that the Supreme Court’s 50% reservation limit imposed in the Mandal decision of 1992 did not need to be revisited.
The Maharashtra BJP government passed the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act in 2018, giving the Maratha community 16 percent reservation.
The Bombay High Court upheld the quota in 2019 after hearing a petition that claimed the Maharashtra government’s decision amounted to “permanent crutches” for the Maratha community. Last year, the Supreme Court placed the Bombay High Court’s decision on hold.
The petitioners argued that the limit was unconstitutional because it increased the state’s overall reservation to over 50%.
The Centre, which supports the Maratha quota, argues that states have the authority to grant reservations and that the decision is constitutional.
“If there is no 50% or no limit, as you are saying, what is the concept of equality then.? We’ll have to deal with it eventually. What are your thoughts on that…? What about the resultant inequality? How many generations will you continue? ” in March of this year, the bench notified the Central government.
Last month, the court reserved its decision.