What Are the Implications of SC’s Ruling on Maratha Reservation?

Due to the ruling, the SC is now muddling in many more constitutional issues having widespread consequences.

2 min read

"Data and facts which have been collected by the Gaikwad Commission ...indicate that Marathas are neither socially nor educationally backward"

That was just one of the views expressed by a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court on 5 May when it struck down the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act of 2018, also known as SEBC, which extended reservations to the Maratha community in public education and employment in excess of the ceiling limit of 50% fixed by the apex court.

The Devendra Fadnavis government in 2018 had approved a 16% reservation for Marathas in jobs and education after statewide protests...that ended up increasing the 50% cap on reservation that was set by the Supreme Court, that's how the matter landed up there.

The Maratha community which constitutes 32 percent of the Maharashtra’s population has historically been a socially and politically dominant class with 12 of the 18 Chief Ministers of the state coming from the community, and over 60% of all the members of Legislative Assemblies of Maharashtra have been Marathas since 1962.

Which prompts the question, why is this community seeking reservation in the first place?

The Supreme Court’s quashing of the Maratha reservation quota, also casts a shadow on the Uddhav Thackeray administration, since the Maratha community vote swung the votes for the NCP party in the 2019 Assembly Elections.

Not just that, the Supreme Court also may have led itself to muddled waters as it not only challenged past rulings on the excess reservation but whether it has the power to set any limit on reservations in India?

To unpack all of these issues, for today’s episode, I spoke with Member of Parliament Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje, who is one of the leaders for the demand of Maratha reservation, and with Smruti Koppikar, a Mumbai-based senior journalist and columnist.

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