The Supreme Court on Monday decided that all the states will be heard in a case related to Maratha reservation. A Constitution Bench of the apex court asked the states to file their reply on whether reservation could be allowed beyond 50 per cent. The top is slated to recommence the day-to-day hearing in the case from March 15.
The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and Ravindra Bhat, said that it also examine whether or not the 1992 judgment of the top court which lays down 50 per cent cap on reservation in favour backwards castes and SC/STs, needs to be reconsidered.
The apex court took the decision to hear all the states and not Maharashtra alone after senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi contended that the case involves issue which impacts all states since any judgment in the matter could impact the powers of the state to extend reservation to socially and educationally backward classes.
"We are of the view that in view of seminal importance of the issue which has arisen on the validity of 102nd amendment, we issue notice to states," the bench said.
The Supreme Court is hearing appeals filed against a judgment of the Bombay High Court which had upheld the validity of the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act. The SEBC Act seeks to grant 16 per cent reservation to Maratha community in educational institutions and government jobs. The High Court had upheld the validity of the law but reduced the quota to 12 per cent in educational institutions and 13 per cent in jobs.
The petitions in the rop court challenge the law on the ground that it breaches the 50 per cent reservation threshold prescribed in the 1992 judgment.