SC dismisses Maharashtra plea on reservation

SC dismisses Maharashtra plea on reservation

The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a Maharashtra government plea challenging a Bombay High Court order staying operation of an ordinance providing for reservation to Marathas and Muslims in education and government jobs.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice R.K.Agrawal, while declining to interfere with the high court's interim order, said that it was still seized of the matter.

The previous Congress government in Maharashtra had issued an ordinance just before the assembly elections providing for 16 percent reservation to Marathas and five percent for Muslims in jobs and education.

However, the high court Nov 14 stayed the operation of the ordinance but retained the five percent reservation for Muslims in education only.

As the court declined to entertain the plea by Maharashtra government, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi urged the court to hear the matter as there was no point in asking the same bench which has already made adverse observations in its interim order staying the ordinance's operation hearing it again.

He said that they would get the same order from the bench that had passed November 14 order.

At this, the apex court said that high court would decide the matter without being influenced by the observations made in the interim order.

The Bombay High Court, while staying the ordinance, said that prima facie Marathsa did not deserve benefits of reservation.

Besides that, the court had said that 16 percent reservation for Marathas in jobs and education and 5 percent for the Muslims breached the ceiling of 50 percent reservation fixed by the apex court constitution bench in 2006.

The previous Congress government in Maharashtra had July 9 issued an ordinance giving reservation to Marathas and Muslims. This was challenged by several people before the high court on various counts including that it was a politically inspired decision taken in an arbitrary manner.

The Maharashtra State Backward Commission had opposed reservation for Marathas holding that they were educationally and economically progressive. However, this view was reversed by a committee headed by a state minister which recommended 16 percent reservations for Marathas both in education and state government jobs.

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