A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court probing the constitutional validity of reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the Maratha community in Maharashtra is likely to pronounce its verdict on Wednesday.
The Constitution Bench will also decide whether the 1992 Mandal judgment needs to re-impose a cap of 50 per cent on the reservation imposed by the Supreme Court.
The court will also deal with the question of allowing the benefit of quotas to the states in the changing socioeconomic situation.
In 2018, the BJP government in Maharashtra passed the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act which provided 16 percent reservation to the community.
Hearing the Maharashtra government’s decision on a plea granting the Maratha community a “permanent Baisakhi”, the Bombay High Court upheld the quota in 2019, but the quantum was said to be “unfair”.
It ruled that the state government “has the legislative capacity to create a separate category of socially and educationally backward classes and to provide reservations”. This reservation should not exceed 12 percent in jobs and more than 13 percent in admissions.
The Supreme Court upheld the Bombay High Court’s decision last year. Regular hearings have been held to decide the matter.
The petitioners contend that Maratha quota is unconstitutional as the total reservation of the state with it is more than 50 percent.
The Center, which has been supportive of the Maratha quota, argues that states can grant quotas and the decision is constitutional.
In March this year, the Supreme Court asked the Center how many generations of reservations in jobs and education would continue.
“If there is no 50 percent or no limit, as you are suggesting, then what is the concept of equality. We have to deal with it eventually. What is your reflection on that … what about the resulting inequality?” How many generations will you continue? “A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat said.
With inputs from PTI