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Maharashtra: No data work, says Supreme Court, stays civic polls to 27 per cent OBC seats

The Supreme Courtroom on Monday placed on maintain elections to seats reserved for Different Backward Courses (OBC) within the upcoming native physique polls in Maharashtra, saying that the choice to earmark the quota was accomplished with out following the obligatory triple-test laid down by the highest court docket.

Listening to writ petitions difficult the Maharashtra ordinance offering “as much as 27 per cent” quota for the OBCs in native our bodies and the State Election Fee’s notification of guidelines for the polls in accordance with the identical, a bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar famous that although a Fee had been arrange on June 29, 2021, the duty of collating empirical information of backwardness “has not been accomplished to this point”.

“Consequently, the State Election Fee shall desist from continuing with the Election Programme already notified in respect of reserved seats for ‘OBC class solely’, within the involved native our bodies. The Election Programme in respect of all of the native our bodies throughout the State in respect of reserved seats for class Different Backward Class, shall stay stayed till additional orders,” the bench, additionally comprising Justice C T Ravikumar, mentioned.

It mentioned that “remainder of the Election Programme(s) can proceed for different reserved seats (viz., aside from OBC), together with common seats”.

The court docket additionally directed that “the State Election Fee shall desist from notifying reserved seats for OBC class even in case of future elections to any native our bodies — both mid-term or common elections, because the case could also be, till additional orders”.

Refusing to simply accept the state’s arguments, Justice Khanwilkar mentioned “there have been steps that had been to be adopted… your political compulsions can’t be the premise to undo the judgment… In case you had constituted the Fee, it is best to have waited for the info to be submitted”.

The bench identified that its choice within the Vikas Kishanrao Gawali v State Of Maharashtra had famous the triple check to be adopted earlier than provisioning such reservation for OBC class. The triple check as per this are (1) to arrange a Fee to conduct rigorous empirical inquiry into the character and implications of the backwardness qua native our bodies, inside the State; (2) to specify the proportion of reservation required to be provisioned native physique clever in gentle of suggestions of the Fee, in order to not fall foul of overbreadth; and (3) in any case such reservation shall not exceed mixture of fifty per cent of the full seats reserved in favour of Scs/Sts/OBCs taken collectively.

“To beat the choice of this Courtroom, the impugned Ordinance has been issued by the State Authorities and in compliance thereof, the State Election Fee has already notified the election programme,” the bench mentioned.

Showing for the state, Senior Advocate Shekhar Naphade mentioned the supply inserted through the ordinance was in conformity with the choice of the court docket and that it was for offering reservation to the class of backward class residents as much as 27% solely.

However the bench mentioned “we aren’t impressed by this argument… with out establishing the Fee and collating contemporaneous empirical information to determine the extent of reservation required to be offered native body-wise, it’s not open for the State Election Fee to offer reservation for OBC class regardless of the statutory provision in that regard. That’s solely an enabling provision, however to be given impact to solely on complying the triple check. Step one of collating empirical information has not been accomplished to this point”.

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