Govt. files review petition on Maratha reservation judgment

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The government has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging a majority view of its Constitution Bench that only the Centre has the power under the 102nd Constitution Amendment to identify and list Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and not States.

The Social Justice Ministry said in a statement on Thursday: “As provided in the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, a review petition for review of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court has been filed by the Union of India on May 13, 2021.”

The majority view led by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat on the Bench had held a “different view” from the one held by Justices Bhushan and S. Abdul Nazeer.

The Bench had looked into the question of whether the Constitution (One Hundred Second Amendment) Act of 2018, which introduced the National Commission for Backward Classes, interfered with the authority of State Legislatures to provide benefit to the SEBC in their own jurisdiction.

The Constitution Amendment Act had introduced Articles 338B and 342A in the Constitution. Article 338B deals with the newly established National Commission for Backward Classes. Article 342A empowers the President to specify the socially and educationally backward communities in a State. It says that it is for the Parliament to include a community in the Central List for SEBC for grant of reservation benefits. The court had delved into whether Article 342A stripped State Legislatures of their discretionary power to include their backward communities in the State Lists.

Justice Bhat, supported by Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta, formed the majority to hold that the President alone, to the exclusion of all other authorities, was empowered to identify Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and include them in the Central List.

The President’s inclusion of classes and communities in the Central List for SEBC “shall be deemed to include SEBCs in relation to each State and Union Territory”.

Justices Bhushan and Nazeer had differed. They held that Article 342A was brought by Constitution 102nd Amendment to give Constitutional status to National Backward Classes Commission. The publication of the SEBC list by the President is limited to only Central government jobs. States can identify their own SEBC.

However, both Justices Bhushan and Nazeer had upheld the validity of the 102nd Constitution Amendment, saying that it did not affect the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 3:03:23 AM |

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