Bombay HC Approves Reservations For Marathas

The Bombay High Court on 27 June, 2019 upheld reservation for Marathas in the State on the basis of the recommendations of Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC).

Relevance of the News: The news highlights the backwardness of the Maratha community and also the various aspects of the reservation law India.

Details of the Verdict:

  • The Bombay HC upheld the reservations for Maratha community in admissions in educational institutions and jobs in the State.
  • The court announced that the State legislature is adept to enact the Maharashtra State Reservation for Seats for Admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for appointments in the public services and posts under the State (for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes) SEBC Act, 2018, and the State legislative’s competence is not in any way affected by the Constitution.
  • However, the court quashed the 16% quota set aside by the Act for Maratha community and revised it to 12% for education and 13% for jobs as proposed by MSBCC.
  • As per the court, the classification of Maratha community as backward by the Gaikwad Commission in November 2018 is justified under the test of reasonable classification permissible under Article 14 (equality before the law).
  • With this judgment the reservation in Maharashtra now stands at 70%, including 10% for economically weaker sections thus breaching the 50% quota limit set by the SC in the post-Mandal era.
  • The ruling will ignite similar demands in other states for example Jat reservations in Haryana etc.

High Court Justifies the 50% Breach in Limit:

  • The HC observed that in the Indira Sawhney case the SC laid certain conditions on the basis on which 50% limit can be breached. These conditions have been justified by the Gaikwad Commission in its report. Therefore, the breach of limit is valid in this case.
  • In the Indira Sawhney case the SC laid that the 50% limit of reservation can be crossed subject to availability of quantifiable and contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration.

Gaikwad Commission:

  • The commission was set up to recommend if Maratha community can be declared as socially and educationally backward.
  • It consisted of 11 members and was constituted in June 2018 and it submitted its report in November 2018.
  • The Commission in its recommendations declared the Maratha community as socially and educationally backward class of citizens (SEBC) and stated that the community has inadequate representation in the services under the State.

Source : The Hindu, 27th June 2019