The Bombay High Court on Thursday restrained the state government from appointing 111 candidates who had applied for engineering jobs across various departments under Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) category.
These seats were later converted to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category after the Supreme Court struck down the SEBC Act. In all, 1,143 candidates were selected by Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) for civil engineering service jobs. The HC, however, allowed the appointments of the other candidates — apart from these 111 candidates — whose appointments were challenged before the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT).
The tribunal had granted interim relief to the 111 candidates and said appointments can be made by the state government; however, it would be on a conditional basis and subject to the final decision of the application before it. The November 29 MAT order was challenged in HC.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja, however, said complications would arise if appointments are made on Thursday (December 1), while MAT has fixed final hearing in the applications from December 2.
“Interest would sufficiently be served if the government is restrained from issuing any appointment to the 111 candidates,” the bench said.
“Although we normally refrain from interfering with the business of tribunals with respect to the pending pleas before it, but having regard to the importance of the issues before it, we urge the tribunal to consider the application before the end of January, 2023,” it added.
The bench said that “in the event the applications are ruled in favour of the 111 candidates, their seniority will be determined as per the appointment date which is December 1”.
The Supreme Court in May last year had struck down the provisions of a Maharashtra law providing reservation to the Maratha community, which took the total quota in the state above the 50 per cent ceiling set by the court in its 1992 Indra Sawhney (Mandal) judgment. Thereafter, the state government extended the EWS quota facility to candidates under SEBC category.