Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld Maratha reservation given by the Maharashtra government. A petition had challenged its constitutional validity. However, reports suggest that the court said that 16% reservation is not justified and should not exceed 12% in education & 13% in government jobs.
The two-judge bench held that Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Category (SEBC) Act, 2018 (SEBC Act) is constitutional. The SEBC Act was enacted pursuant to the recommendations of the State Commission for Backward Classes headed by Justice (retired) M G Gaikwad.
However, it was challenged by many petitioners. They said that the reservation of 16 % to Marathas went against the ceiling limit of 50 % prescribed by the Supreme Court judgment of Indra Sawhney vs Union of India.
According to reports, the petitioners had said that Supreme Court judgments mandate periodic revision of lists every ten years to exclude those classes which have ceased to be backward classes or for including in such lists new backward classes. they said that such an exercise was not conducted.
They had argued that the state government passed the SEBC Act on the basis of unquantified data and without revising the list. The Gaikwad Commission report was also questioned for failing to adhere to the mandate of Indra Sawhney judgment and the Mandal Commission report.
The high court, however, upheld the Gaikwad Commission report and also ruled that the state government’s competence to enact the law is unaffected by the Constitution (One Hundred and Second) Amendment Act, 2018.