on Thursday upheld the validity of
reservations given to the Maratha community
in government jobs and education by the state government. However, the court said that the quota percentage should be reduced from 16 per cent to 12 or 13 per cent as recommended by the State Backward Classes Commission.
“The state possesses legislative competence to enact the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) Act of 2018 in Maharashtra which provided for reservation to the Maratha community as
. The state’s legislative competence is not affected in any way by the 102nd amendment of Constitution,” said the judges of the division bench Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre.
The court said it was aware the Supreme Court in the past said the quota should not exceed 50 per cent.
“However, in exceptional circumstances, the 50 per cent (limit) can be exceeded if it is based on quantifiable data,” the court said.
“The 50 per cent ceiling of reservation can be crossed when there exists extraordinary circumstances,” said the judges adding, “We hold that Justice Gaikwad commission has shown the existence of such extraordinary circumstances.”
The court further held that the state’s legislative competence is not affected by the amendment to Article 342(a) of the Constitution of India.
As per the 102nd amendment to Article 342(a), reservation can be granted only if a particular community is named in the list prepared by the President of India.
“We conclude that the report submitted by the State Backward Classes Commission was based on quantifiable data and was correct in classifying the Maratha community as socially and educationally backward,” the bench said in its judgment.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging
‘s decision granting 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions.
On November 30, 2018, the Maharashtra legislature passed a bill granting 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas, declared a socially and educationally backward class by the state government.