Maratha reservation: Supreme Court dismisses review filed by Centre challenging interpretation of 102nd Constitutional Amendment

2nd July, 2021

Maratha reservation: Supreme Court dismisses review filed by Centre challenging interpretation of 102nd Constitutional Amendment

The Central government's review petition challenging the Supreme Court's interpretation of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment in the Maratha reservation verdict issued on May 5 this year was dismissed by a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court (Union of India v. Shiv Sangram & Ors). We reviewed the review petition filed in Writ Petition (C) No.938/2020 in response to the judgement dated May 5, 2021. The arguments asserted in the review petition do not come within the narrow range of grounds that can be considered in a review petition. The review petition's different grounds have previously been addressed in the main ruling. We don't think there's enough evidence to support this remark. The Supreme Court had ruled that, following the 102nd Amendment's insertion of Article 342A into the Constitution, only the Central government has the authority to identify Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBCs) and include them in a list to be published under Article 342A (1), which specifies SEBCs in relation to each state and union territory. According to the Court, governments can only offer suggestions to the President or the Commission under Article 338B for the inclusion, exclusion, or change of castes or communities in the list to be published under Article 342A (1) using their current methods. The Court clarified that, except for the identification of SEBCs, the states' power to make reservations in favour of specific communities or castes, the quantum of reservations, the nature of benefits and the kind of reservations, and all other matters falling within the scope of Articles 15 and 16, will remain unaffected. A Constitution Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta, and S Ravindra Bhat handed down the decision by a 3:2 majority. Justices Rao, Gupta, and Bhat voted in favour of the proposal, while Justices Bhushan and Nazeer voted against it.
This important decision came as part of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Maharashtra government's implementation of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, which gave the Maratha community preference in public education and jobs.