New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a petition challenging Bombay High Court judgement, upholding law granting reservation to Marathas in admission, jobs in Maharashtra. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Deepak Gupta and Anriuddha Bose took note of the plea that the issue of Maratha quota needed an urgent hearing. The matter will come up for hearing in the apex court on June 12, Friday.

Last month, the Bombay High Court  upheld the validity of reservations in education and government jobs granted to the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category but reduced the quantum from 16 per cent to 12 per cent. The verdict came on a bunch of petitions challenging the state government’s November 2018 decision granting 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community under the SEBC category.

Earlier this month, Sanjeet Shukla, a representative of ‘Youth for Equality’, an NGO, filed a petition in the top court and said that the SEBC Act, breached the 50-per cent ceiling on reservation fixed by the apex court in its landmark judgement in the Indira Sahwney case, also known as the ‘Mandal verdict’.

The petitioner claimed that the framing of the SEBC Act for Marathas was done under ‘political pressure’ and in ‘full defiance’ of the constitutional principles of equality and 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 that the Bombay High Court ‘erred’ in concluding that the mere fact that 85 per cent of Maharashtra’s population was “backward” was so extraordinary as to warrant a breach of the 50-per cent ceiling limit.

It also alleged that the high court overlooked the fact that Marathas occupied 40 per cent of the government jobs available in the open category. “The high court overlooked the fact that the Gaikwad Commission itself recorded that the Maratha community forms only 19 per cent of the population, which shows that the assumption behind the SEBC Act that Marathas constitute 30 per cent of the population was bad,” it said.

(With agency inputs)