The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that after the insertion of Article 342A in the Constitution through the 102nd Amendment, it is the Union govt alone which is empowered to identify Socially and Economically Backward Class.
In pursue Union government files review petition in Supreme Court challenging interpretation of 102nd Constitutional Amendment in the Maratha reservation judgment delivered on May 5.
The Supreme Court had ruled that after the insertion of Article 342A in the Constitution through the 102nd Amendment, it is the Union government alone which is empowered to identify.,
Socially and Economically Backward Class (SEBC) and include them in a list to be published under Article 342A (1),
Specifying SEBCs in relation to each State and Union Territory The States can, through their existing mechanisms, or even statutory commissions, only make suggestions to the President or the Commission under Article 338B, for inclusion, exclusion or modification of castes or communities, in the list to be published under Article 342A (1), the Court had ruled.
“By introduction of Articles 366 (26C) and 342A through the 102nd Constitution of India, the President alone, to the exclusion of all other authorities, is empowered to identify SEBCs and include them in a list to be published under Article 342A (1), which shall be deemed to include SEBCs in relation to each state and union territory for the purposes of the Constitution,” the Court had held.
Except identification of SEBCs. the States’ power to make reservations, in favour of particular communities or castes, the quantum of reservations, the nature of benefits and the kind of reservations, and all other matters falling within the ambit of Articles 15 and 16 will however remain undisturbed, the Court clarified.
The judgment was delivered by a Constitution Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat by 3:2 majority.
Justices Rao, Gupta and Bhat supported the proposition while the dissent was by Justices Bhushan and Nazeer.
The majority judgment came despite the Union government through Attorney General KK Venugopal arguing that the 102nd amendment does not take away States’ powers to identify SEBCs.
This crucial ruling came as part of the judgment of the top court striking down the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018 which extended reservation to the Maratha community in public education and employment.
Article 342A was inserted into the Constitution by way of 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act. It reads as follows: “(1) The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the socially and educationally backward classes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be socially and educationally backward classes in relation to that State or Union territory, as the case may be.
(2) Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the Central List of socially and educationally backward classes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any socially and educationally backward class, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.” Supreme Court of IndiaReview PetitionMaratha Reservation102nd Constitutional AmendmentArticle 342A