The Uttar Pradesh government on March 15 informed the Supreme Court that the State Local Bodies Dedicated Backward Classes Commission has completed its "contemporaneous rigorous empirical investigation" to identify backward classes who deserve political representation in local bodies.
Making an urgent mentioning before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for Uttar Pradesh, said the report of the Commission was ready, and sought an early hearing of the case.
The CJI agreed to take up the case on March 24, noting it concerned a serious issue.
On January 4, the apex court stayed an Allahabad High Court direction to Uttar Pradesh to hold local body elections in the State without reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC).
"To hold elections without reservation… that would not be a satisfactory state of affairs," Chief Justice Chandrachud had orally observed.
The High Court had, on December 27, 2022, ordered elections to be held without OBC reservation after discovering that Uttar Pradesh had not complied with the "triple-test" criteria mandated by the Supreme Court to conduct a detailed survey to identify backward classes in the State who deserve political representation in local bodies.
The court had, on January 4, recorded Uttar Pradesh's assurance that its Backward Classes Commission would complete the survey to identify OBCs lacking political representation in local bodies before March 31, 2023.
"The limited scope of the Backward Classes Commission is to determine the political backwardness of the existing listed communities and not get into identifying new OBCs," the law officer had submitted.
Mr. Mehta had said there were 79 backward communities listed in the Schedule of the U.P. State Public Services (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Act, 1994. The "limited scope" of the Backward Classes Commission was to identify politically backward communities among the 79.