From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : 102nd Constitution Amendment
Mains level : Paper 2- The Supreme Court strikes down law granting reservation to Maratha community
About the judgment
- The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the provisions of a Maharashtra law providing reservation to the Maratha community.
- It rejected demands to revisit the verdict or to refer it to a larger Bench for reconsideration.
What the Supreme Court said
- The Bench said that “providing reservation for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward class in public services is not the only means and method for improving the welfare of backward class”
- The 50% rule is to fulfill the objective of equality as engrafted in Article 14 of which Articles 15 and 16 are facets.
- To change the 50% limit is to have a society that is not founded on equality but based on caste rule.
- If the reservation goes above the 50% limit, it will be a slippery slope, the political pressure, make it hard to reduce the same.
- It added that “the Constitution (Eighty-first Amendment) Act, 2000 by which sub-clause (4B) was inserted in Article 16 makes it clear that ceiling of 50% “has now received constitutional recognition”
- The Supreme Court disapproved the findings of the Justice M G Gaikwad Commission on the basis of which Marathas were classified as a Socially and Educationally Backward Class.
- It said that “the data collected and tabled by the Commission as noted in the report clearly proves that Marathas are not socially and educationally backward class”.
SC upheld 102nd Constitution amendment
- The SC also upheld the 102nd Constitution amendment, saying it does not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.
- The bench, by 3:2 majority, held that after the amendment, only the President will have the power to identify backward classes in a state or Union Territory.
- The amendment inserted Articles 338B and 342A in the Constitution.
- Article 338B deals with the structure, duties and powers of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
- Article 342A speaks about the power of the President to notify a class as Socially and Educationally Backward (SEBC) and the power of Parliament to alter the Central SEBC list. He can do this in consultation with Governor of the concerned State. However, law enacted by Parliament will be required if the list of backward classes is to be amended.
- 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provides constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
- The Commission consists of five members including a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other Members appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. It has the authority to examine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.
- Previously NCBC was a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.