March 24, 2023

Govt to seek review of SC’s OBC quota rulings | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: With the Supreme Court dismissing the OBC quota in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh local body elections and the same fate likely in other states having or seeking similar provisions, the Centre is working on a plan to remedy the situation by challenging against the apex court rulings.
Though the plan is at a nascent stage, the Centre is considering objecting to the rulings on certain grounds while questioning the top court’s “Krishna Murthy judgement” of 2010, which laid down the “triple test” — the root of the OBC quotas in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh being struck down.
It seems that a legal review by a larger bench may be sought. However, experts believe that a legal review may not completely undo the situation caused by the rulings as the “Krishna Murthy judgement” appears to talk about separate lists of OBCs for political quotas as against state lists of OBCs based on social and economic backwardness for reservations in government employment and educational institutions.
If the government has to strike at the core of the provocation and find a permanent settlement, then a constitutional amendment to the relevant sections dealt by the “Krishna Murthy judgement” may also be a possible route to remedy the situation. For instance, according to an expert, the government can identify the OBCs for political quota in Articles 243d and 243t as the state lists of OBCs are used for the purposes of job and education quota. This may obviate the need for determining backwards exclusively for political quota.
The urgency appears to stem from the realisation that since no state has determined the OBCs afresh through setting up commissions, a legal challenge in court may scratch the backward quota in all other states. The “Krishna Murthy judgement” is particularly consequential as it rules economic and social backwardness need not mean political backwardness, with many reading it to have asked for a separate list of OBCs for political backwardness as distinct from the state-wise lists of backwards used for job and education quotas.
However, it is to be seen how the situation evolves given that the issue is tricky after the Supreme Court in detail laid down the reasons for its refusal to accept OBC quota in local body elections in the absence of “triple test“, which includes states altering the OBC quota quantum to ensure that SC/ST/OBC reservation does not exceed 50%, and setting up commissions to collect contemporaneous data on OBCs and their political backwardness.

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