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Supreme Court Rejects Maharashtra Backward Classes Commission's Interim Report Recommending 27% OBC Quota In Local Bodies

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
3 March 2022 7:22 AM GMT
Supreme Court Rejects Maharashtra Backward Classes Commissions Interim Report Recommending 27% OBC Quota In Local Bodies
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The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to accept the interim report filed by the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission which recommended the restoration of 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local body elections.Noting that the interim report was prepared without empirical study and research, the Court directed the State of Maharashtra and the State Election Commission...

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to accept the interim report filed by the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission which recommended the restoration of 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local body elections.

Noting that the interim report was prepared without empirical study and research, the Court directed the State of Maharashtra and the State Election Commission to not act upon it.

It may be recalled that the Supreme Court in December last year had stayed the 27% OBC quota in local bodies, after noting that the same has been introduced without fulfilling the "triple tests" laid down in Vikas Kishanrao Gawali v State Of Maharashtra and Ors LL 2021 SC 13 regarding reservation in local bodies. The triple tests are (1) establish a Commission to conduct rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of the backwardness qua local bodies, within the State; (2) to specify the proportion of reservation required to be provisioned local body wise in light of recommendations of the Commission, so as not to fall foul of overbreadth; and (3) in any case such reservation shall not exceed aggregate of 50 per cent of the total seats reserved in favour of SCs/STs/OBCs taken together.

Later, the Court reaffirmed the said stay order, by dismissing a recall application filed by the State Government. The Court directed that the 27% OBC quota seats should be notified as general seats for elections.

Later, the Court gave liberty to the State Government to share date with the Backward Classes Commission for doing study.

Last month, the Commission prepared an interim report with a recommendation as follows : "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".

Pursuant to this, the Maharashtra government filed an application before the Court seeking permission to implement OBC quota in the remaining local body polls in terms of the recommendation of the Commission.

A bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar today disallowed the plea of Maharashtra Government after criticising the interim report.

In the order dictated in the open court, the bench stated as follows :

"The report itself mentions that the same is being prepared in absence of empirical study and research by the commission. Having failed to do so ,the Commission should not have filed the interim report.

As a result, it is not possible to permit any authority, much less the State Election Commission, to act upon the recommendations made in the said report. For the time being, we don't intend to dilate on the correctness of each of the observations made by the commission in the interim report.

We however, direct all concerned not to act upon the interim report as submitted".

Notify elections without delay in local bodies, SC tells SEC

The Court was informed that elections are overdue in at least 800 gram panchayats, 5 municipal corporations and 100 municipal councils. The Court directed the State Election Commission to notify the election process in such local bodies without delay, in compliance of the restraint against effecting OBC quota.

"We direct the SEC to comply with the direction given by this court in order dated 15.12.2021 and restated on 19.01.2022, namely that no reservation for OBC be provide for such local bodie and be notified as general seats....

The SEC shal ensure that until further directions of this court, as an when electons become due, the same is notified while ensuring that there is no delay in completion of process before the satutory period of 6 months from the date of expiry of the normal term of the concerned local body"


 

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