The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a stay on the reservation in jobs and educational institutions under “Maratha Quota” in Maharashtra. The 3-J Bench comprising J. L Nagaeswara Rao, J. Hemant Gupta, and J. S. Ravindra Bhatt, while passing the order, resolved to refer the issue of the validity of the reservations to a larger constitution bench. Though admissions under Maratha Quota remain stayed, the applicants to Post-graduate courses will continue to enjoy the benefits of the quota.

In 2016, the Maharashtra Government passed the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018 introducing a 16% reservation for the Maratha community in educational institutions and government jobs. Following its enactment, the law was challenged in the Bombay HC, which finally upheld its constitutional validity. However, the court also held that the quantum of the reservation is “unjustifiable.” Following the HC order, the Maharashtra Government cut down the reservation percentage to 12% in educational institutions and 13% in government jobs.

The decision of the HC was challenged in the Supreme Court through several petitions. Before the court, the principal contention was that the impugned law breached the 50% cap on reservations fixed by the SC in the Indira Sawhney Judgement. However, in July, the SC had refused to impose a stay on the Bombay HC decision.

Anticipating a possible challenge to the law, the state government had filed a caveat before the Apex Court. The caveat demanded that “no ex-parte order should be passed on any plea challenging the high court judgement without hearing the state.”

Reported By : Lakshmi Raj C

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