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OBC quota for local body polls: Supreme Court blow to Maharashtra government, dismisses plea for Centre’s caste data

The Maharashtra government has sought the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data for implementing reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) in local body polls.  

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the Maharashtra government’s petition seeking to direct the Central government to make public the raw data from the Caste-based census carried out in 2011. 

Earlier on December 6, the Supreme Court had stayed the state government ordinance giving 27 percent reservation for OBC candidates in local body elections in Maharashtra, following which the state government had moved the Apex Court. The polls will be now be held without OBC reservation and general category candidates will contest from the seats earlier reserved for OBC candidates. The next hearing will be on January 17, 2022.

The Maharashtra government has sought the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data for implementing reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) in local body polls.  

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and C.T. Ravikumar quashed the state government’s plea on the grounds that the Central government has already submitted it and that the data is fraught with inherent errors.

The Court noted that the Union government has maintained the SECC-2011 was not an exercise to enumerate the data of backward classes. The Centre had earlier told the Apex Court that the SECC-2011 is not data exclusively on the OBCs and it was not made public as it was found to be flawed and bound to mislead. 

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The Centre had submitted the 2011 census was aimed at enumerating the caste status of households for delivery of targeted benefits and the exercise was carried out on the instructions of the ministry concerned.

However, the matter is still pending in the Supreme Court whether OBCs will get reservation in civic elections to be held in Maharashtra or not.

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