In an important ruling, a full bench of the Bombay High Court has held that the persons who migrated to Maharashtra after 1950 cannot get the benefit of reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Due to difference of opinion between two benches of High Court as to how the Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in ‘Mari Chadrasshekhar Rao Vs. Dean of G.S. Medical College’ should be interpreted, a three—member bench of Justice F. I. Rebello, Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice J. H. Bhatia had been specially set up.

The High Court ruled last week that “a migrant belonging to a SC, not ordinarily resident as on 10.3.1950 in the area that now constitutes the State of Maharashtra and in the case of a case of ST, on 6.9.1950, would not be entitled to benefits of reservation in Maharashtra.”

“They and their progeny will continue to get the benefits of reservation in the State of origin,” the court observed.

The court held that if this proposition wasn’t accepted, then all persons living in erstwhile Bombay state (which existed prior to creation of Maharashtra in 1960), would get reservation benefits in Maharashtra, thought they might not be living in present geographical boundaries of Maharashtra in 1950, when various castes and tribes were notified as SC or ST.

Such a situation can arise because Bombay State comprised parts of present-day Karnataka and Gujarat too.

“This would increase the population of SCs and STs for Maharashtra, and would deny to the members of the STs ordinarily resident in Maharashtra,” the High Court said.

“The benefits of reservation as they would have to share the same with ST from other States which formed the erstwhile State of Bombay as on 1—8—1950,” the High Court noted, ruling that such an interpretation of Supreme Court judgement is not possible.