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Maratha quota: Supreme Court to hear NGO’s plea against HC order

50% cap on reservation fixed by Constitution Bench in Indira Sawhney judgment breached, says petition

July 08, 2019 12:44 pm | Updated 06:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

The Supreme Court on July 8 agreed to urgently hear a petition filed by an NGO against a Bombay High Court order that upheld the reservation provided to the Maratha community in education and government jobs in Maharashtra.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, responding to an oral mentioning, scheduled for July 12 the hearing of the plea.

The petition, filed by Youth for Equality through its representative Sanjeet Shukla, said the 12% and 13% quota to the community introduced in the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act had breached the 50% cap on reservation fixed by a Constitution Bench in the Indira Sawhney judgment.

The High Court’s order upheld 65% reservation in Maharashtra.

The reservation was enacted under “political pressure” and in “full defiance” of the rule of law and equality, the petition said.

“The Maharashtra government has made a mockery of the rule of law. It has also used its constitutional powers arbitrarily and purely for political gains,” it said.

“The High Court erred in concluding that the mere fact that other OBCs would have to share their reservation quotas with the Marathas (if the Marathas were simply included in the existing OBC category) constitutes an exceptional circumstance warranting a breach of the 50% ceiling limit set in Indira Sawhney case,” the petition said.

It said the SEBC Act was “unconstitutional” for violating the Bombay High Court’s 2015 order without removing its basis, overstepping the constitutional limitations contained in the 102nd amendment to the Constitution and for merely succumbing to political pressure, in complete violation of the constitutional principles of rule of law.

According to the 102nd amendment to the Constitution, reservation can be granted only if a particular community is named in the list prepared by the President.

The plea further claimed the Bombay High Court “erred” in concluding that the mere fact that 85% of Maharashtra’s population was “backward” was so extraordinary as to warrant a breach of the 50% ceiling limit.

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