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Key Takeaways

  • The 105th Constitutional Amendment Act got passed last month from both the Houses of the Parliament and also got the Presidential assent and has come into force from 15th August 2021
  • The changes brought by the amendment are that it reimposes the power to the Central and the State Government to specifically identify the Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBCs).
  • The name of the case related to this Amendment is Jayshri Laxmirao Patil Vs. Union of India is also famously known as the Maratha Quota Case.
  • The laws that included the Marathas in the SEBC after the 102nd Amendment Act was challenged.

Background

  • Under the National Commission for the Backward Classes Act, 1992 the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was formed and was given constitutional status by the 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2018.
  • It also empowered the President to apprise the list of SEBC for all states and union territories.
  • After some time, the Maharashtra legislature bought up a law that recognized the Marathas as a socially and educationally backward class and included them in the SEBC and they could also enjoy the benefits of SEBC including reservations.
  • In the Maratha Case, this decision of the Bombay High Court was challenged and at the same time the constitutional validation of the Act was also challenged.
  • The Supreme Court was hearing a plea against the decision of the Bombay Court. It said that the states cannot identify and classify the communities in the SEBC and only the President holds such powers.
  • The Bombay High Court held that after the introduction of Articles 338B and 342A, the President had the power to include and exclude communities in SEBC and in case necessary, the Parliament could modify the prepared list and can also exclude the communities.

Courts Observation and Orders

  • The court observed that after 102nd Amendment, the states did not have the power to identify and classify communities in the SEBC.
  • It also recognized that the state and the central government can prepare their own state and the central list of SEBCs. The president can send a notice of the list regarding the Central List.
  • The reason for this verdict and observation is that the states and the Centre were not able to decide and identify communities in the SEBC after the previous amendment.
  • The Court also amended Article 342A and also added clause (3) to Article 342A which states that the states and the union territories can recognize their own list of SEBC and it can be different from the central list.

What changes can we expect to see after the 105th Amendment Act? Was the decision of the Bombay High Court to include Marathas in the SEBC made without political influence? Share your views in the comments s

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