The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018 which grants reservation to the Maratha community in public education and government jobs in the State.
The judgement came on a batch of pleas challenging the Bombay High Court verdict which had upheld the quota, even though it meant the total quantum of reservations in Maharashtra exceeded the 50% limit.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao, Justice S Abdul Nazeer, Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice S Ravindra Bhat held that,” We have found that no extraordinary circumstances were made out in granting separate reservation of Maratha Community by exceeding the 50 percent ceiling limit of reservation. The Act, 2018 violates the principle of equality as enshrined in Article 16. The exceeding of ceiling limit without there being any exceptional circumstances clearly violates Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution which makes the enactment ultra vires.”
Further the bench said that granting separate reservation for Maratha community has not made out any exceptional circumstances to exceed the ceiling of 50 percent reservation.
“The constitutional precondition as mandated by Article 16(4) being not fulfilled with regard to Maratha class, both the Gaikwad Commission’s report and consequential legislation are unsustainable. We thus hold that Maratha class was not entitled for any reservation under Article 16(4) and grant of reservation under Article 16(4) is unconstitutional and cannot be sustained.” the order reads.
The Top Court uphold the constitutional validity of Constitution (One Hundred and second Amendment) Act, 2018 as the Constitution 102nd Amendment Act, 2018 does not violate any basic feature of the Constitution.