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Supreme Court refuses to lift stay on Maratha quota: ‘Let HC decide it first’

“It is just after all an interim order... let the Bombay High Court decide it first," the bench said.

| New Delhi | Updated: December 19, 2014 6:06:50 am

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to lift the Bombay High Court’s interim order restraining the Maharashtra government from going ahead with its decision to provide 16 per cent reservation to dominant Maratha community in jobs and educational institutions.

A bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu turned down a vehement plea by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to modify the interim order, and said it would be only proper at this stage for the apex court to await the final word on the issue by the High Court.

“It is just after all an interim order… let the Bombay High Court decide it first. We don’t know what was passing in the mind of the learned High Court judge when this order was passed. After hearing arguments, a prima facie conclusion has been reached that reservation is not required. Wait for the final order,” said the bench.

It, however, asked the High Court to speed up the hearing and decide the case as expeditiously as possible and further said that the case should be decided without getting influenced by the interim directions.

The Bombay High Court had also stayed the decision to provide 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in government jobs, but had allowed quotas for them in educational institutions.

Staying the pre-poll move by the previous Congress-NCP regime in the state, the HC had said that the government has raised reservation to 73 per cent by announcing 16 per cent quotas for Marathas and 5 per cent for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions, however, in line with the Supreme Court’s directions reservation cannot exceed half the number of total seats. The state government had contended that the two communities were socially, educationally and economically backward.

SC takes up farmer suicide cases

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to examine the issues related to incidents of suicide by debt-ridden farmers in drought-hit Maharashtra, where in a horrific case last month a 75-year-old Vidarbha tiller lit his own pyre. A bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu said that the court wanted to take up the issue suo motu in public interest and now since a PIL has been filed, the Social Justice Bench would examine it. The PIL was filed by advocate Rakesh Uttamchandra Upadhyay, seeking various directions to the Centre on ensuring immediate relief, including waiver of crop loans and 100-day wage subsidy under MNREGA. ENS

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