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Backward Classes Commission Has Recommended Restoration Of 27% OBC Quota In Local Bodies : Maharashtra Govt Tells Supreme Court

Shruti Kakkar
28 Feb 2022 12:55 PM GMT
Backward Classes Commission Has Recommended Restoration Of 27% OBC Quota In Local Bodies : Maharashtra Govt Tells Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the application filed by the State of Maharashtra seeking permission to allow the State to proceed with the Election Programme in respect of local bodies across the State for reserved seats for Other Backward Class ("OBC") category for Wednesday ie March 2, 2022.The applications were listed before the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT...

The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the application filed by the State of Maharashtra seeking permission to allow the State to proceed with the Election Programme in respect of local bodies across the State for reserved seats for Other Backward Class ("OBC") category for Wednesday ie March 2, 2022.

The applications were listed before the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar.

On January 19, 2022 the bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, while dealing with an application urging the court to permit the election on the basis of information & data already available with the State concerning OBC, had directed the State to submit the data and information available with the State concerning Other Backward Classes with the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission.

In view of the same, it has been stated now in the present application that the data/documents that were available with the State were made available to the Commission on January 24, 2022.

It was further stated in the application that based on the Commission's interim report dated February 5, 2022, the Commission has thought it fit to restore and grant 27% reservation excluding the areas notified by the PESA Act, 1996 and subject to excluding statutory reservations meant for SC's and ST's.

"Considering the data / documents submitted by the State Government, and upon analyzing the same, this Commission thought it fit to recommend, to restore and grant 27% reservation (which is already prescribed by various enactments), excluding the areas notified by the PESA Act, 1996, and subject to permissible upper limit of 50% to BCC/OBC category in local self-government i.e. excluding statutory reservations meant for SCs and STs," the report by the Commission stated.

State in the application has also stated that such recommendation has been made by the Commission to provide a workable solution for political reservation for BCC / OBC as an interim arrangement for the upcoming elections of the local bodies.

"The State Government is committed to comply with all the directions of this Hon'ble Court in the judgment of Vikas Kisanrao Gawali (supra) and the steps mentioned by the Commission in its Report. The State has thus substantially complied with the triple test/conditions enumerated by this Hon'ble Court in Vikas Kisanrao Gawali (Supra) and is therefore entitled to reserve seats in the local bodies for OBCs," application also states.

The bench also adjourned an application preferred by applicants representing the cause of Special Economic Backward Class People of Maharashtra through SEBC Forum Maharashtra seeking intervention in the SLP challenging Maharashtra Ordinance which introduced 27% OBC quota in the local body elections.

It was stated in the application that the population of Special Economic Backward class people in Maharashtra is about 33% out of total population in the State which comes to approximately 12 crores 57 lakhs.

Applicants have also stated that the first stage of collating empirical data has not been completed so far. In this regard it has been stated in that application that, though the State Government has constituted a commission in that regard, there is no final report and opinion given by the said Commission. In such circumstances any order passed by this Court based on any interim report by the Commission will add to the confusion as regards to the OBC reservation in the State of Maharashtra.

"The State Government appears to push and give OBC reservation without satisfying the triple test requirement for the reasons best known to them based on an interim report submitted by the commission. Without any concrete and final report, the State Government should not give any OBC reservation as it will unnecessarily create complications and may give rise to future complications, as OBC category persons will demand continuation of BC reservation without sufficient population and other data," application further states.

Applicants also stated that each district has a unique population of OBC category persons which are not same throughout Maharashtra and while considering or passing any order, district wise OBC category final data should come before the Top Court in the interest of justice.

Background

A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar on December 15, 2021 had directed the State Election Commission to renotify the 27% OBC constituencies as general seats and resume the election process for those seats along with other states.

The bench on December 6, 2021 had stayed the 27% quota and allowed election process in the remaining seats observing that the Ordinance brought by the Maharashtra Government to provide the 27% OBC reservation was an attempt to overreach the judgment of the Supreme Court in Vikas Kishanrao Gawali v State Of Maharashtra and Ors LL 2021 SC 13, which had quashed the 27% OBC quota as it was introduced without following the "triple tests'' laid down inKrishna Murthy (Dr.) & Ors. vs. Union of India & Anr., (2010) 7 SCC 202.

Case Title: Rahul Ramesh Wagh v. State of Maharashtra

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