"Why stop at reservation? Do more to implement affirmative action:" Supreme Court in Maratha Reservation case
On Monday, the Supreme Court stated that affirmative action to uplift the socially and educationally disadvantaged classes (SEBCs) should go beyond reservation and include other approaches such as raising the number of educational institutions, seats, and so on (Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v. Chief Minister). During the hearing of the Maratha reservation case, the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, which included Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta, and S Ravindra Bhat, made the remarks. “What's the point of stopping at a reservation? Why can't other things be done as well? Why not encourage education and expand the number of institutes? This matrix must go beyond reservation at some stage. Reservation is not a form of affirmative action. There has to be more,” Justice Ravindra Bhat, a member of the Bench, said.
He went on to say that lack of access may be due to a variety of factors, including caste, a lack of seats, and other issues that need to be discussed. This could indicate that there are insufficient seats or organisations. They all want to go, but there might not be enough seats The remarks were made in response to Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal's claims that India's backwardness and percentage of backward population varies greatly from state to state, and even within states, and that a national limit of 50% does not take social realities into account. The focus of Sibal's arguments on Monday was that the Supreme Court's 1992 decision in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India, which is widely credited with establishing the 50 percent reservation limit, did not explicitly address the issue. The Mandal commission report has little to do with Indra Sawhney. It was asked to rule on the legality of a government decree, and there was no chance of a 50/50 split. He argued that no such issue was framed and decided in Indra Sawhney on the 50 percent limit.
The Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, which extended 16 percent reservation to the Maratha community, is being challenged in the Maratha reservation case. In June 2019, the Bombay High Court upheld the law's constitutionality but lowered the limit to 12% in educational admissions and 13% in work applications.