In the Maratha reservation case, the Bihar government, while presenting its stand before the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court said that there is a need to reconsider the 50% limit on reservation.
Advocate Manish Kumar, appearing for Bihar government submitted that “Equality cannot be viewed as a snapshot or a still image and should rather be viewed like a film in continuity. Equality or lack of it in 1992 cannot be the same in 2021. The 50 percent ceiling was a judicially deprived principle based on the prevailing societal conditions then. The obligation of the state to uplift the backward sections of society is constrained to an extent by the judgement of Indra Sawhney as it permits breaching the cap of 50% in extremely exceptional circumstances.
Singh cited two separate SEBC lists: for central service, one is prepared by the Centre and the other by state for state services. These lists have been existing since 1993. He added that Indra Sawhney judgment needs to be examined by a larger bench against the backdrop of changed social dynamics of the society.
The 102 Amendment granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes and has enhanced its scope and duties. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the 102 Amendment specifically mention that the said Amendment has been made pursuant to the decision in Indra Sawhney and the National Commission for Backward Classes Act 1993. The Commission would function in the manner prescribed in Article 338 of the Constitution.
It was highlighted in the Affidavit that liberalization and globalization of economy began after 1991, which has completely changed the employment dynamics between the public and private sector. The pressure of public employment has significantly reduced. More affirmative action through the state agencies is required in favor of the backward classes to avoid gaps between different communities within the society.
The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, L. Nageswara Rao, S. Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat, was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, that in its view the SEBC Act, 2018, of Maharashtra granting reservation to people of the Maratha community in the state in jobs and admissions is Constitutional.
States, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have filed their statements who were unanimous in their stand against the 50% cap on reservation.