NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday cancelled the Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018 which provided the Maratha community reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, saying it exceeded the 50 per cent cap imposed earlier. A five-judge bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta, and S Ravindra Bhat, studying the constitutional validity of the 16 per cent reservation brought in by the earlier BJP government in Maharashtra, said the move violated equality.
“The 2018 Act as amended in 2019 granting reservation for Maratha community does not make out any exceptional circumstance to exceed the ceiling limit of 50 per cent reservation,” observed the Court. The Act exceeds the ceiling limit of 50 per cent which violates Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution, it added. “States have no power to add any caste to socially economically backward caste list due to the amendment made by Parliament,” the Top Court observed.
“States can only identify the castes and suggest to the Centre...Only President can add the caste to SEBC list guided by the National Backward Classes Commission.” It, however, said all admissions made to post-graduate medical courses and appointments already made under the new quota law shall not be disturbed by its ruling Wednesday. Petitioners challenged the Act before the Bombay High Court as being a ‘fraud’ on the Constitution of India, as it proposed to hike the reservation in Maharashtra from 52 per cent to 68 per cent.
This, it was contended, violated the Supreme Court’s judgment in Indra Sawhney vs Union of India. The Bombay High Court had upheld the quota in 2019. The Supreme Court had put the Bombay High Court judgment on hold last year. Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje, one of the leaders and the main coordinator of the Maratha reservation agitation, said that Maratha community peoples should have to accept the court's decision, which was very unfortunate for the community.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called the Supreme Court’s Verdict “unfortunate”. Thackeray said that the unanimously legislation was passed for the sake of a “life with self-respect” for the member of the community. “Now SC says that Maharashtra can’t make law on this, only PM and president can,” he added.
To decide next course of action
The sacrifices of late Annasaheb Patil and 42 Maratha brothers for Maratha reservation went in vain. Unless reservation is implemented for the Marathas, the community will not allow any recruitment in the state. Also, in order to take a concrete role in this regard, the Maratha community will soon hold a meeting of the state coordination committee and decide the next course of action. - Ganesh Kadam, State Coordinator, Maratha Kranti Morcha
Case against seer
A case has been registered against former trustee of Kalaram temple and mahant Sudhirdas Pujari at Panchavati police station yesterday for defaming and disturbing the peace by posting defamatory posts on social media after the reservation of the community was cancelled.
The failure of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to formulate the Maratha reservation in the Supreme Court is a failure of the government. The case was handled in an irresponsible manner due to nonavailability of documents. The future of the students of the Maratha community is dark. The Maratha community will not survive without teaching a lesson to this ‘Mahavasuli’ Aghadi. The Maratha reservation maintained by Devendra Fadnavis in the High Court could not stand by the Mahavikas Aghadi government in the Supreme Court. - MLA Seema Hiray