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Maratha quota: Supreme Court strikes down Maharashtra SEBC Act (Updated with order)

The five-Judge Constitution bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice Hemant Gupta, and Justice S. Ravindra gave four different verdicts, all of which admitted that the Maratha community could not be given reservation.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down as ultra vires, the sections granting reservation in the Maharashtra Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act 2018 (SEBC Act). (Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil Vs The Chief Minister & Ors.)

The court said that no further benefit can be claimed by anyone. The bench was delivering its order on petitions challenging the same. 

As the five-judge constitution bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, L. Nageswara Rao, S. Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta, and S. Ravindra Bhat assembled, the court said: “In this case four judgments are being delivered. With regards to questions 1, 2 and 3, all of us have given our judgment unanimously. We don’t see any substance on the argument of Mr Mukul Rohatgi, while referring to the case of Indira Sawhney.

“With regard to question 2,” added the court, “neither the Commission nor the Bombay High Court has made out any case for sealing of reservation over and above 50%. With regard to question 3 – exceeding the sealing limit above 50% -without any exceptional circumstances (this) is a violation.”

The court also made it clear that those who have been admitted in PG Medical courses till September 9, 2020 are safe and will not be impacted.

Justice Bhat said that as per Indra Swahney this does not require to be referred to larger bench. “The state government, based on Justice Gaikwad Commission, has not made out exceptional circumstance for granting Maratha reservation. The state has no power to publish their lists. Only Parliament can do that.”

The court said that the arguments in the case have laid down seminal importance for development of Constitutional law in the country.

Read Also: Maratha quota: Supreme Court to pronounce judgment in pleas challenging SEBC Act today

Numerous pleas had been filed against the Bombay High Court order upholding the Maharashtra SEBC Act, whereby an extended 16 percent reservation for Marathas in jobs and education under SEBC was reserved beyond the ceiling limit of 50% reservation in extraordinary circumstances justified by quantifiable data.

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