A Supreme Court bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravi Kumar today stayed the 27% reservation for other backward classes in the local body election till further consideration.
The court was hearing a plea challenging the promulgation of an ordinance by the State of Maharashtra which provided for a blanket 27% reservation in the local bodies to those belonging to the other backward classes.
Vikas Singh, Senior Advocate, appearing for the petitioner submitted that the action of the State was contrary to the judgment of the court in Krishnamurthy & Ors Vs Union of India. The bench however questioned Singh on the premise that they could have brought the reservation had the State formulated a commission to ascertain the data.
Singh further submitted that only the centre provides the State with the raw data of the percentage of population belonging to a certain category and that data pertaining to backwardness of political participation is not provided.
Singh further pointed out that the elections have been notified for 2100 seats and that if the elections happen, it will have a snowballing effect. The bench questioned the Kadethankar, Advocate, appearing for Maharashtra election commission if they have notified the elections. He replied that though the elections were notified on November 24th, it would be subject to the order of the court.
Shekhar Naphade appearing for the State of Maharashtra submitted that he has filed an affidavit to show that the data available with them is not raw. The bench on being told that the last date of filing nomination was tomorrow, informed the parties that they were going to stay the election. The bench further informed the parties that they are going to hear the matter on 13th December.
The bench on hearing the parties ordered that the triple test as laid down in Vikas Kishan Gawai Vs State of Maharashtra should have been followed before providing such reservation however, the State has not done so. The court further noted that an ordinance was passed merely to overcome the decision of the court and the State Election Commission has notified the same. The court further noted that without setting up of a commission to collect data, it is not open to the election commission to provide for reservation. The court held that the State Election Commission cannot be permitted to proceed with the election in the light of such a reservation.
The matter will now be heard on 13th December.
Case title: Rahul Ramesh Wagh Vs State of Maharashtra
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