The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider urgently hearing five petitions against the Bombay High Court’s decision to uphold reservations for the Maratha community in educational institutions and jobs in public services in Maharashtra, PTI reported.
A lawyer seeking urgent hearing told the judges that the pleas that were to be listed for hearing were not in the causelist of the court. A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said: “You give the memo. We will look into it.”
Five petitions have been filed against the Bombay High Court’s order, including by lawyer Sanjeet Shukla for the non-governmental organisation Youth For Equality. Shukla’s plea said that the provision for 12% reservation in education and 13% in jobs would breach the ceiling of 50% reserved seats imposed by the top court itself in a landmark verdict in 1992.
On July 12, the same bench of the Supreme Court had refused to stay the High Court’s decision while hearing the petition by Youth For Equality. However, the bench ordered that the reservations cannot be applied with retrospective effect, and sought the Maharashtra government’s response.
The Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra had approved 16% reservation for the Marathas in jobs and education in November last year following state-wide protests. The Maratha community roughly forms one-third of the state population.
On June 27, the Bombay High Court upheld the decision, but asked the state not to exceed the recommendation of the State Commission for Backward Classes that the reservation be kept at 12% in education and 13% in jobs. A 16% quota for Marathas would take the proportion of reserved seats in the state to 68%. The court said the 50% ceiling can be breached under exceptional circumstances.