A bench of five Supreme Court judges examining the constitutional validity of the reservation in government jobs and educational institutions in the Maratha community in Maharashtra is likely to announce its verdict on Wednesday.
The constitutional bench will also decide whether the 50 percent reserve cap imposed by the Supreme Court in the 1992 Mandal judgment should be reviewed.
The Court will also address the issue of the possibility for States to grant quotas in the context of changing socio-economic conditions.
In 2018, the BJP government of Maharashtra passed the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (ESCB) law which provided for 16% reserves to the community.
Upon hearing a petition arguing that the Maharashtra government’s decision amounted to providing the Maratha community with “permanent crutches”, the Bombay High Court upheld the quota in 2019, but said the quantum was “unjustifiable”.
He had ruled that the state government “has the legislative competence to create a distinct category of the socially and educationally backward class and to grant reservations.” The reservation should not exceed 12 percent in jobs and 13 percent in admissions, he added.
The Supreme Court suspended the Bombay High Court judgment last year. He regularly holds hearings to rule on the issue.
The petitioners argue that the Maratha quota is unconstitutional because with it the total state reserve exceeds 50 percent.
The center, which supports the Maratha quota, argues that states can grant a quota and that the ruling is constitutional.
In March of this year, the Supreme Court asked the center how many generations the employment and education reserves would continue.
“If there is no 50 percent limit or no limit, as you suggest, what is the concept of equality then. We will have to deal with that eventually. What do you think of that … ? What about the resulting inequality? How many generations will you continue? “The bench, made up of judges Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat, said .
With inputs from PTI