The Bombay High Court on Thursday stayed the appointment of 111 Maratha community candidates who had applied for engineering jobs across various departments in the Maharashtra government under Socially and Economically Backward Classes category, reported The Indian Express.

The vacancies were later put under the Economically Weaker Section category after the Supreme Court in May last year, struck down the provisions for Maratha reservation under the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018. The court had held that the provision breached the ceiling of 50% quota limit imposed in the 1992 Indra Sawhney landmark verdict.

After the judgement, the Maharashtra government had extended the Economically Weaker Section quota to the 111 Maratha community candidates who had applied under the 2018 law.

A total of 1,143 candidates had been selected by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission. In its Thursday order, the High Court allowed the state government to appoint all other candidates other than the 111 Maratha applicants.

On November 29, the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal had granted interim relief to the 111 candidates, saying that the state government can make the appointments, but they would be subject to its final decision on the case.

This order was challenged before the High Court.

On Thursday, the High Court said that complications would arise if appointments are made when the tribunal has fixed December 2 as the final date for hearing.

“Although we normally refrain from interfering with the business of tribunals with respect to the pending pleas before it, but having regard to the importance of the issues before it, we urge the tribunal to consider the application before the end of January, 2023,” a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja said.

It said that if the tribunal rules in favour of the 111 candidates, their seniority would be determined on the basis of the of appointment date which is December 1.

The petition before the High Court was filed by person named AM Havshette and two others who belong to the EWS category, reported The Times of India.

The petitioners had told the High Court that their appointment would be prejudiced as the state was allowing the candidates from the Socially and Economically Backward Classes to change the quota category to EWS.