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The Case Of The Maratha Reservation: Locating The Intent

Sangram Jadhav, LLM, National Law University Delhi

Background of the Case:

The state of Maharashtra promulgated an Ordinance1 on July 9, 2014, guaranteeing the Maratha community 16 percent reservation in education and public employment. The Bombay High Court issued an interim order2 on November 14, 2014, halting the ordinance's implementation. On December 18, 2014, the Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the interim order. The state of Maharashtra then passed3 Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act of 2014 (hereinafter referred to as the SEBC act, 2014) wherein persons belonging to socially and educationally disadvantaged classes, including the Maratha community, were given a 16 percent reservation in education and public employment in the State. Owing to a close resemblance of the SEBC act, 2014 to the Ordinance, the Bombay High Court halted4 its execution on April 7, 2016. The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission was established on January 4, 2017 by a notification5 from the Maharashtra government. The Commission, which was chaired by Justice Gaikwad, proposed that Marathas be given a 12 percent and a 13 percent reservation in educational institutions and public employment respectively6. On November 29, 2018, the state of Maharashtra enacted the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 20187 (hereinafter referred to as the SEBC act, 2018), based on the Commission's recommendations. The Act goes above and beyond the recommended quotas, providing Marathas 16 percent reservation in State educational institutions and government service appointments in Maharashtra. The Bombay High Court upheld the Act's constitutionality on June 27, 20198. On the other hand, the Bombay High Court invalidated sections 4(1) (a)-(b)9 of the 2018 Act, which mandated 16 percent reservation in education and public employment. The court ruled that the Act should not include reservations in education and public employment that exceed the Commission's recommended levels of 12 and 13 percent, respectively. The Supreme Court admitted an appeal on July 12, 201910 against the decision of the Bombay High Court. The apex court declined to stay the order of the Bombay High Court. The preliminary issue that arose was the need for this case to be referred to a larger bench because it involved significant legal questions concerning the interpretation of the Constitution. After hearing both the sides, the Court made a decision to refer11 the case to a larger bench on September 9 in a brief (non-reportable) order. It also suspended the application of the SEBC Act of 2018 to educational institutions, with the exception of Post-Graduate Medical Courses12.

Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878


Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

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​All research articles published in The Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IJLLR or its members. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IJLLR.

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