Context: The Supreme Court referred to a Constitution Bench the question of whether states can exceed the 50% limit on quotas that was set by a nine-judge Bench in the landmark Indra Sawhney vs Union of India (1992) case. The question will now be taken up by a Bench comprising at least 11 judges.
Case in Supreme Court
- The petitions appealed a 2019 Bombay High Court decision that upheld the constitutional validity of the Maratha quota under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.
Bombay HC ruling
- A Division Bench of the Bombay High Court ruled last year that “the limit of reservation should not exceed 50%”; however, “in exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations, this limit can be crossed subject to availability of quantifiable and contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration”.
- With the addition of 12-13% Maratha quota, the total reservation in the state went up to 64-65%.