Admissions and jobs based on 10% reservation to Maratha under SEBC, subject to final outcome of pleas challenging Maharashtra Reservation Act: Bombay HC

Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court: In a batch of Public Interest Litigations (PIL) and civil writ petitions, primarily challenging the constitutional validity of the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2024 (‘the Act’) before a full bench comprising of Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya, CJ., G.S. Kulkarni, and Firdosh P. Pooniwalla, JJ, the Court said that the applications for admissions to educational courses or recruitment to government jobs availing the Maratha quota would be subject to further orders on petitions challenging the reservation.

The Act grants 10 percent reservation to the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category, in jobs and education. A report from the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC) cited ‘exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations’ as justification for granting reservation exceeding the total reservation limit of 50 percent in the State, to the Maratha community.

The petitioners argued that reservation exceeding 50 percent cannot be granted without a constitutional amendment and that there are inherent flaws in the findings of the MSBCC report.

Vide interim order dated 08-03-2024, passed by the Division Bench, it was laid that any applications received under the advertisement for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) (UG), 2024, or any other similar advertisement to seek the benefit of the impugned Act, shall be subject to further orders passed by the Court.

Subsequently, all the PIL petitions and civil writ petitions were tagged together and heard by another division bench which noticed the limited interim order granted previously after which the matter was placed before the present Bench.

Regarding the interim order dated 08-03-2024, the Court said that if any applications are made in response to the advertisement dated 09-02-2024 for admission to the undergraduate medicine courses on the basis of NEET (UG), 2024 or any other advertisement for admission to any other educational courses, where applicants seek the benefit of the impugned Act, the participation of such candidates shall be subject to further orders passed in these petitions.

Further, the Court also said that any advertisement made after the promulgation of the impugned Act for making any recruitment in public employment related to affairs of the State, other State instrumentalities, and State public undertakings, shall also be subject to further orders in these petitions. The Court directed the authorities concerned to inform all such candidates who may participate in the process of selection either for admission to academic courses or for recruitment in public employment, of this order. The respondents were also directed to file their affidavits in reply within three weeks.

[Bhausaheb Bhujangrao Pawar v. The State of Maharashtra, 2024 SCC OnLine Bom 1081, Order dated 16-04-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

For Petitioners — Sr. Adv. Arvind Datar, Sr. Adv. Gopal Sankarnarayanan, Sr. Adv. Pradeep Sancheti, Adv. Pallavi Bali, Adv. Ashish Mishra, Adv. Prathamesh Kamath, Adv. Yash Oza, Adv. Nizzica Pinto, Adv. Vishnudatt Mishra, Adv. Ashwin Deshpande, Adv. Nihar Chitre, Adv. Trisha Chandran, Adv. Anshu Deshpande, Dr. Gunratan Sadavarte (Party-in-person), Dr. Jaishri Patil (Party-in-Person), Adv. Rajaashok B. Ghate, Adv. Akshay Sartape, Sr. Adv. Anil Anturkar, Adv. Atharva Date, Adv. Kashish Chellani, Adv. Kavita Prakash, Adv. Gaurav Chaubey, Sr. Adv. Anil Singh, Sr. Adv. A.Y. Sakhre, Adv. Chirag J. Shah, Adv. Maniny Roy, Adv. Adarsh Vyas, Adv. Shyamsundar b. Jadhav, Adv. Ruchita Verma, Adv. Amjith M. Anandhan, Adv. Sachin Pawar, Sr. Adv. Vineet Naik, Adv. Utsav Trivedi, Adv. Vishal Acharya, Adv. Piyush Tiwari, Adv. Suryajeet P. Chavan, Adv. Vishakha Shelar,

For Respondents — Sr. Adv. Harish N. Salve, AG Birendra B. Saraf, GP P. P. Kakade, Addl. GP O. A. Chandurkar, AGP G. R. Raghuwanshi, Adv. Jay Sanklecha, Sr. Adv. Janak Dwarkadas, Adv. Namrata Vinod, Adv. Himanshu Sachdeva, Adv. Piyush Tivari, Adv. Ekta Dalvi, Sr. Adv. Anil Singh, Adv. Aadarsh Vyas, Adv. Ruchita Verma, Adv. Amjith M. Anandhan, Adv. Sachin Pawar, Sr. Adv. V. A. Thorat, Adv. Vaibhav Sugdare, Adv. Akshay Shinde, Adv. Prachi Tatake, Adv. Abhijeet Patil, Sr. Adv. Vineet Naik, Adv. Utsav Trivedi, Adv. Vishal Acharya, Adv. Piyush Tiwari, Adv. Kavita Dhanuka, Sr. Adv. Dinyar Madon, Adv. Pradeep Thorat, Adv. Chirag J. Shah, Adv. Maniny Roy, Adv. Shyamsundar B. Jadhav, Sr. Adv. A. Y. Sakhre, Sr. Adv. Vineet Naik, Adv. Utsav Trivedi, Adv. Ashish Kumar Yadav, Adv. Vishal Acharya, Sr. Adv. Zal Andhyarujina, Adv. Himanshu Sachdeva, Sr. Adv. Ravi Kadam, Sr. Adv. Ashish Kamat, Adv. Harsh Moorjari, Sr. Adv. Devdutt Kamat, Adv Harsh Pande, Sr. Adv. Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Sr. Adv. Nikhil Sakhardande

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