Centre to top court: Maratha quota law is constitutional

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By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
March 24, 2021 2:00:35 am

The petitioners in the case have argued that after the 102nd amendment, only the Centre has the power to identify SEBCs and the states can provide reservation benefits to only those so placed in the central list.

THE CENTRE on Tuesday backed the Maratha quota law, telling a Supreme Court bench that it is of the view that the law is constitutional.

“In our view, it is constitutional,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan.

Mehta also backed Attorney General K K Venugopal’s views that the Constitution 102nd amendment, which introduced Article 342A in the Constitution, does not deprive states of the power to identify Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs). “We construe Article 342A gives enabling role to Central government to determine the SEBC,” the SG told the bench also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat, which is hearing the challenge to the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, which provides reservation to Maratha community.

The petitioners in the case have argued that after the 102nd amendment, only the Centre has the power to identify SEBCs and the states can provide reservation benefits to only those so placed in the central list.

Venugopal, however, had said that while the Centre can choose from the central list for appointment in services under it, the states can have their own list.

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