In 1992, Reservation for the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC)
was introduced to end the historical injustices such as inequality,
exploitation, discrimination faced by a vulnerable section of the society. India
has already curb many of these issues to an extent but still, this is present,
mainly in the remote areas of the country. Supreme Court set a cap in 1992 on
the 50% reservation to SEBC and this ceiling can not be altered except in
Reservation was always a contentious and sentimental issue and raise many
concerns of the people at times. The Supreme court in a recent judgement quashed
the reservation for the Maratha community in education and public services.
On May 5, the Supreme court struck down the reservation for the Maratha’s which
was given under the Maharashtra state reservation for socially and educationally
backward classes (SEBC) and termed it as unconstitutional.
The apex court held that they didn’t find any extraordinary circumstances in
this case which can give the reservation to the Maratha community and break the
ceiling of 50% reservation set by the SC in the Indira Sawhney vs. union of
Maharashtra government enacted a law in 2018 giving reservation to the Maratha
community which is backed by all the political parties. Both the houses of the
state legislature cleared the law on the same date.
Maratha’s are the politically active and dominant community of Maharashtra and
comprise 1/3 population of the state. They are classified as warrior caste
earlier and owns a large chunk of land. Since the inception of the Maharashtra,
11 chief ministers are from the Maratha community only and many government
services are occupied by them.
Maharashtra legislature passed a bill in November 2018, proposing 16%
reservation to the Maratha,s in government jobs and education. Bombay high court
declares it as violative of 50% ceiling on the reservation.
Then Maharashtra government file an affidavit and demand to give reservation to
the Marathas to alleviate them from poverty. Bombay HC starts hearing the
petitions filed by the Maharashtra government and ratifies the constitutional
validity of the Maratha reservation. High court also asks the government to
bring down it to 12%-13% from 16%. Finally, after hearing for 10 consecutive
days, the supreme court reserve the judgement and holds Maratha’s judgement as
unconstitutional and abolish the law.
Supreme Court Judgement
A five-judge constitution bench on May 5, held that reservation for the Maratha
community was unconstitutional as it exceeds the 50% ceiling limit. The
unanimous judgement was delivered by the justices Ashok Bhushan, S. Abdul Nazeer,
L. Nageshwar Rao, Hemant Gupta and S.Ravindra Bhat.
The bench rejected the plea of Indra Sawhney vs. union of India verdict which
had fixed the 50% cap on the reservation and stated that there are no
extraordinary circumstances in the case that should grant an additional 16%
reservation to the Maratha community.
The bench didn’t consider the interpretation of Article 342A of the constitution
which was incorporated by the 102nd Amendment.
Article 342A stands for identification of communities in States as socially and
educationally backward classes by the President, after consultation with the
Governor of the state.
The bench further said that the Gaikwad report and Bombay high court decision
are also not satisfying any extraordinary circumstances under which reservation
will be given to the Marathas.
Questions Before The Court:
- Tamilnadu also has 69% reservation since the 1990s so will the supreme
court take action on that?
- 10% reservation is also given to the economically backward classes(EWS)
in addition to the 50% ceiling limit, So is the 103rd amendment subject to
Written ByPrashant Jaiswal
Email: [email protected]