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JAISHRI LAXMANRAO PATIL V. CHIEF MINISTER, MAHARASHTRA | MARATHA QUOTA CASE | UPSC LAW OPTIONAL


Maratha Reservation case analysis | UPSC law Optional


WHAT HAPPENED? Reservation granted to Maratha Community by Maharashtra’s Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018 was challenged as being unconstitutional. This law granted 16% quota in admissions to educational institutions and jobs in public services — later brought down to 12% in admissions and 13% in jobs through a 2019 amendment.


WHY WAS IT ALLEGED TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL?

  • 50% ceiling limit imposed on reservations by Indra Sawhney v. Union of India was exceeded by this law.

  • Basis of the reservation was challenged on the ground that it lacked reliable, scientific and adequate data to justify either the backwardness of Marathas or the extra-ordinary condition of increasing reservations in Maharashtra from 52% to 68%.

  • Special benefits given to Marathas by creating a special class of reservation for outside the OBC class was said to violate Articles 14, 16 and 19 of the Constitution.

The judgment was pronounced on 5 May 2021.


On Questions 1-3, The Supreme Court held that a separate reservation for the Maratha community violates Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (due process of law).

Further, it stated that,

· 50% limit on reservations should not be reconsidered.

· Report of Gaikwad Commission, on the basis of which the reservation was granted, had failed to lay out an 'extraordinary situation' to fall within the exception for exceeding 50% limit.



On these grounds, Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018 were held to be unconstitutional.


The five-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court held that the State has not shown any exceptional circumstance to justify exceeding the limit.



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