Plea filed against HC judgement upholding Maratha quota

 Supreme Court. DH file photo

An NGO has approached the Supreme Court challenging the validity of Bombay High Court judgement, which gave its stamp of approval to the quota for the Maratha community in jobs and education in Maharashtra.

The petitioner, 'Youth for Equality', contended the framing of the Socially Educationally Backward Classes Act by the state government for providing quotas to the Marathas was done under "political pressure" and in "full defiance" of the constitutional principles of equality and rule of law.

The plea, which might come up for hearing next week, claimed a 12 and a 13 % quota to the Maratha community in education and jobs respectively, breached the 50-per cent ceiling on reservation fixed by the apex court in its landmark judgment by the nine-judge bench in the Indira Sahwney case (1992), also known as the "Mandal verdict".

"The high court erred in concluding that the mere fact that other OBCs would have to share their reservation quotas with the Marathas (if the Marathas were simply included in the existing OBC category) constitutes an exceptional circumstance warranting a breach of the 50 per cent ceiling limit set by Indira Sawhney," the plea filed by advocate Pooja Dhar said.

The Bombay High Court, in its June 27 order, said the 50 % cap on reservation imposed by the apex court could be exceeded only in exceptional circumstances.

"The majority in the Indira Sawhney case held that the ceiling limit of 50 % was a binding rule and not merely a rule of prudence," the plea said.

The petitioner claimed the Maharashtra government has made a mockery of the rule of law and also used its constitutional powers arbitrarily and purely for political gains.

The high court overlooked the fact that Maratha community occupied 40% jobs in the open category, it said. 

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