In its verdict, the SC said such reservations on caste or class basis violated the principle of right to equality.
According to a previous verdict, the SC had said that states can go for more than 50 per cent reservation in exceptional cases.
“The 50 per cent reservation limit can be relaxed in extraordinary situations. “In extraordinary situations, it may be relaxed in favour of people living in remote, far-flung areas of the country,” the court had ruled.
The earlier order comes as stark contrast against the Maharashtra law granting reservations to Marathas in admissions in educational institutions and government jobs in the state.
The Wednesday’s Supreme Court order needs to be assessed threadbare for better understanding. The apex court said that no extraordinary circumstances were made out in granting separate reservation of Maratha Community by exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling limit of reservation.
It said that to change the 50 per cent limit is to have a society which is not founded on equality but based on caste rule and if the reservation goes above 50 per cent limit which is reasonable, it will be a slippery slope, the political pressure, make it hardly to reduce the same.
The Court also observed that when more people aspire for backwardness instead of forwardness, the country itself stagnates. And, this situation is not in accord with constitutional objectives”.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan unanimously held, “The Act, 2018 (Maharashtra Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018) violates the principle of equality as enshrined in Article 16. The exceeding of the ceiling limit without there being any exceptional circumstances clearly violates Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution which makes the enactment ultra vires.
The SC verdict clearly goes to prove that the foundation of a society, or for that matter, that of a nation rests on equality and equitable distribution of opportunities as enshrined in the Constitution. Any discrimination is a serious violation of the spirit of the Constitution and an injustice to the society.
Reservation on the ground of the clan can have short-term political benefits but damages the society in the long run.