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Relaxation of 50% cap on reservation for Marathas in Maharashtra unwarranted, rules SC

Members of the Maratha community during a demonstration in Mumbai in August 2018. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Supreme Court on Wednesday in a judgment expressed the prima facie opinion that the relaxation of the 50% cap on reservation for the Maratha community in Maharashtra is unwarranted.

It said the Marathas, who comprise 30% population of the State, cannot be termed a marginalised community.

“Applying the law laid down by this Court in Indra Sawhney (Mandal Commission judgment of 1992), we are of the prima facie opinion that the State of Maharashtra has not shown any extraordinary situation for providing reservations to Marathas in excess of 50%,” a three-judge Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao said in its judgment on September 9.

Also read: Reinforcing caste hierarchies: on Maratha quota

The court, however, referred to a Constitution Bench to examine the petitions challenging the State law, which provides reservation in jobs and admissions to the Maratha community in the context of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment. The Maratha quota, if implemented, will exceed the 50% ceiling laid down by the Mandal Commission judgment.

The relaxation of the strict rule of 50% can be made in certain extraordinary situations. People living in far-flung and remote areas not being in the mainstream of national life should be treated in a different way, the court explained.

Also read: Devendra Fadnavis misleading people over Maratha quota issue: Ashok Chavan

“Maratha community which comprises of 30% of the population in the State of Maharashtra cannot be compared to marginalised sections of the society living in far flung and remote areas. The State has failed to make out a special case for providing reservation in excess of 50 per cent. Neither has any caution been exercised by the State in doing so,” the court observed.

The social, educational and economic backwardness of a community, existence of quantifiable data relating to inadequacy of representation of the community in public services, and deprivation of the benefits flowing from reservations to the community are not exceptional circumstances for providing reservations in excess of 50%, the court said.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 12:15:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/relaxation-of-50-cap-on-reservation-for-marathas-in-maharashtra-unwarranted-rules-sc/article32576850.ece

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