SC dismisses Maratha verdict review pleas

‘Grounds taken in review petition have already been dealt with in main judgment’

July 02, 2021 01:49 am | Updated 01:49 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court has refused to review its judgment holding the Maratha reservation law unconstitutional.

The court had also held, in a majority view, that the Centre alone is empowered to identify socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) to include them in the Central List for claiming reservation benefits.

“The grounds taken in the review petition do not fall within the limited ground on which review petition can be considered. The various grounds taken in the review petition have already been dealt with in the main judgment. We do not find any sufficient ground to entertain this review petition. The review petition is dismissed,” a five-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan recorded in a short order published late on Thursday.

In May, the Bench had unanimously declared the Maharashtra State law which provides reservation benefits to the Maratha community, taking the quota limit in the State in excess of 50%, as unconstitutional.

The court had also refused to revisit its 1992 Indra Sawhney verdict which fixed the ceiling limit for reservation at 50%.

However, the majority view authored by Justice S. Ravindra Bhat had held a ‘different’ opinion about the validity of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment.

Justice Bhat had held that the Centre alone was empowered to identify socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) for the Central List. The opinion had led to the review pleas.

“The President [that is the Central government] alone, to the exclusion of all other authorities, is empowered to identify SEBCs and include them in a list to be published under Article 342A (1), which shall be deemed to include SEBCs in relation to each State and Union Territory for the purposes of the Constitution,” Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, whose opinion was concurred by Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta on the five-judge Bench, had held.

Justice Bhat had observed that the States could only make suggestions to the President or the statutory commission concerned for inclusion, exclusion or modification of castes and communities to be included in the List.

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