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Supreme Court directs Madhya Pradesh SEC to stay election process on seats reserved for OBCs in local body polls

In March this year, the top court had said that reservation in favour of OBCs in local bodies concerned in Maharashtra cannot exceed 50% of the total seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs together.

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The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) to stay the election process on seats reserved for Other Backward Class (OBCs) in the state’s local body polls.

The bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and C.T. Ravikumar observed that it had passed an order on December 15 directing the SEC to notify the seats in the local body in Maharashtra, which were reserved for OBCs, as general category. The same principle and analogy must apply for the local body elections in Madhya Pradesh as well, the Apex Court said.

The Apex Court was hearing a miscellaneous plea seeking stay of the election notification dated December 4, 2021 issued by the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission in respect of OBC seats in local bodies.

While hearing the plea, the bench referred to the Constitution Bench verdict of 2010 which is required to be followed before provisioning such reservation for OBCs. Also, the bench pointed out that a similar OBC quota in Maharashtra local elections was stayed recently.

The election for General Category seats would proceed along with other elections already notified but the results of all seats should be together on the same day, the top court observed.

The bench also said local body on the seats reserved for OBC need to be stayed as it is in conflict with the decision of the Constitution Bench, which was reiterated by a three-judge bench.

In March this year, the top court had said that reservation in favour of OBCs in local bodies concerned in Maharashtra cannot exceed 50% of the total seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs together.

The result of the election in Madhya Pradesh will be declared together on the same day so that the matter would be listed along with the Maharashtra case, the Apex Court said.

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