A special leave petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order upholding the Maharashtra government’s reservation for admission in educational institutions and appointments in public services under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act.
The petition was filed by Sanjeet Shukla, one of the petitioners who challenged the constitutionality of the Act before the HC. The petition says that this case concerns the Maratha community that, within less than 10 years, went from being described as a “forward”, “advanced” and “prestigious” Hindu community to being described as so extraordinarily and exceptionally backward as to warrant a separate 13 per cent reservation for itself, over and above the 50 per cent limit prescribed in the SC’s Indra Sawhney case.
The petition states that the HC misread the limitation set by the SC in the Indra Sawhney and Nagaraj cases and concluded that no stringent ceiling limit of 50 per cent reservations has been prescribed by the apex court.
As an interim relief, Shukla in his petition is seeking a stay on the operation of the SEBC Act, until the petition is decided by the SC. The petition is likely to be heard next week by the SC.
Last month, upholding the reservation, an HC bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati H Dangre said that the 16 per cent reservation granted by the government is not “justifiable and resultantly we quash and set aside the quantum of reservation” and reduced it to 12 per cent for education and 13 per cent for public jobs as recommended by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC).
A day after the judgment, Vinod Patil, a Maratha leader and social worker, filed a caveat anticipating a challenge to the HC verdict. Patil is one of several interveners supporting Maratha reservation, in which the HC passed an order.