DATE OF JUDGMENT:
Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice L. Nageshwar Rao, Justice Hemant Gupta, and Justice S. RavindraBhat.
Dr. Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil (Petitioner)
The Chief Minister &ors. (Respondent)
The Hon’ble Supreme Court struck down the provisions of the Maharashtra law which provided reservation to the Maratha community, and took the total quota in the state above the 50% ceiling set by the Supreme Court in the 1992 Indra Sawhney (Mandal) judgment.
1. The “Maratha” is a Hindu community that mainly resides within the State of Maharashtra. After the enforcement of the Constitution of India, the President of India in the exercise of power under Article 240 appointed a 13 Commission to research the conditions of all such socially and educationally backward classes, referred to as Kaka Kalelkar Commission, the primary National Commission for backward classes.
2. The Kaka Kalelkar Commission submitted its report on 30.03.1955 where it observed that - “In Maharashtra, besides the Brahman, it is the Maratha who claimed to be the ruling community amongst the villages, and thus the Prabhu, that dominated all other communities”.
3. Thus, the primary Backward Classes Commission didn't find Maratha as another backward class community within the State of Bombay.
4. The writ petitioner pleaded that providing reservation to the Maratha community to the extent of 16% amounts to a breach of Articles 14, 16, and 21 of the Indian Constitution and also evading the bar of reservation of 50%.
5. On judgment of this Court in Indra Sawhney’s case and law laid down in Mr. Nagraj and others vs. Union of India & Ors. (2006) 8 SCC 212, it had been pleaded that the reservation isn't permissible beyond 50%. Different grounds had been taken within the writ petition that questions the 16% reservation for the Marathas.
6. During the pendency of the writ petition, subsequent events occurred resulting in enlarging the scope of the petition, within the writ petition several applications for intervention and implementation are filed seeking to justify the Act, 2018. The Supreme Court allowed the applications for intervention and that they were directed to be added as party respondents.
The issues analyzed by the court –
1. Whether the SEBC Act of 2018 as amended in 2019 granting 12% and 13% reservation for the Maratha community additionally to 50 percent social reservation is roofed by exceptional circumstances as per contemplated by the Constitution Bench in Indra Sawhney’s case?
2. Whether the government on the strength of Maharashtra State Backward Commission Report which is chaired by M.C. Gaikwad has made out a case of existence of extraordinary situation and the exceptional circumstances within the State to fall under the exceptions carved at the judgment of Indra Sawhney?
3. Whether the Constitution's 102nd Amendment denies the State Legislature of its ability to establish enactment that decides the socially and economically backward classes?
4. Whether State's ability to administer about "any backward class" under Articles 15(4) and 16(4) is abbreviated by Article 342(A) read with Article 366(26c) of the Indian Constitution?
The Constitution of India:
1. A five-judge Constitutional seat, by a consistent view, additionally precluded that the need to rethink the 1992 nine-judge seat judgment in IndraSawhney (Mandal Commission) case, which fixed 50% bar on the reservation.
2. The 569-page verdict may likely have far-reaching consequences on pending challenges to the validity of the Centre's 10 percent Economic Weaker Section quota, and Tamil Nadu's law for up to 69 percent reservation for the OBC. Against the backdrop of this verdict, the governments would need to prove exceptional circumstances to support their move.
3. The Supreme Court has said that the 2018 Maharashtra Act violates the principle of equality as embedded in Article 16 of the Indian Constitution. The exceeding of the reservation limit without there being any extra-ordinary circumstances violates the Article 14 and article 16 of the Indian Constitution which makes the enactment ultra vires, it added.
4. Several states had demanded review for the nine-judge bench decision insight of subsequent developments and alter in social dynamics. But the court stayed unmoved.
5. Justice Ashok Bhushan composing for the behalf of himself, and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer said: "There is often no fight that society changes, law changes, and individuals changes yet that doesn't imply that something sweet and demonstrated to be useful in keeping up balance inside the general public ought to try and be changed in the name of the progress alone."
6. The Constitution seat directed by Justice Bhushan, saw that the pre-condition for penetrating a 50 percent limit on the quota under Article 16(4) like exceptional and extraordinary conditions wasn't satisfied in giving 12% and 13% reservation to Marathas in jobs and education.
7. "The portrayal of Marathas publicly benefits in Grade A, B, C, and D includes 33.23%, 29.03%, 37.06%, and 36.53%, registered from out of the open classification filled posts, is a sufficient and acceptable portrayal of Maratha community," it noted.
8. The other judges on the bench -- Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta, and S. Ravindra Bhat agreed that the Maratha quota was unconstitutional, and no review of a fifty percent cap is required.
9. The five-judge Constitution bench upheld the validity of the 102nd Amendment which granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.
10. However, Justices Bhushan and Nazeer's point of view wasn't agreed by the other three judges who held the state was empowered to spot the backward class for granting quota.
11. Justice Rao said there's no obscurity in Article 342 A (1), instead it very clear that there should be one list of socially and educationally backward classes which can be issued by the President.
The Supreme Court struck down the arrangements of a Maharashtra law giving reservation to the Maratha community, which took the whole portion inside the state over the 50% bar set by the court in the 1992 IndraSawhney judgment. "The half standard… is to fulfill the objective of correspondence as engrafted in Article 14 of which Articles 15 and 16 are facets… to vary the 50% is to have a general public which isn't established on equity however upheld rank principle," a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan administered in four separate choices. "The popular government is a significant element of our Constitution and a piece of our fundamental design. If the reservation goes above 50% limit… it will be a slippery slant, the political pressing factor, makes it difficult to scale back an equivalent," it said.
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