Day 9 Arguments: 4 February 2020

The Supreme Court is assessing the constitutional validity of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018 ('SEBC Act'), which grants reservations to the Maratha community (in the State of Maharashtra). The SEBC Act prescribes 16% reservations for Marathas in education and public employment. In June 2019, the Bombay High Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act, while reducing the prescribed reservations to 12% and 13% in education and public employment respectively, based on the Gaikwad Commission's recommendations. 

 

Today, a three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Surya Kant briefly heard counsels for the petitioners who requested it to issue interim relief. It directed the Registrar to list the matter before Justice L. Nageswara Rao's two-judge Bench to decide the issue of interim relief. 

 

Petitioners seek interim relief

Sr. Adv. Gopal Sankaranarayanan appearing for the petitioners urged the Court to issue interim relief. He highlighted that interim arrangements were put in place for other similar reservation matters. 

 

Sr. Adv. Arvind Datar requested the Cour to urgently hear the matter. He pointed out that as the Court hasn't issued a stay on the SEBC Act, the Maharashtra Government had already begun filling posts reserved for Marathas.

 

State seeks time to file reply

Sr. Advs. Mukul Rohatgi and Paramjit Singh Patwalia appeared for the State of Maharashtra. They requested additional time to file the State's reply. In addition, they submitted that the State required more time to translate certain Marathi documents, which contain over 3000 pages. 

 

After hearing both sides, the Bench listed the matter for tomorrow on the issue of interim relief.

(Court reporting by Avinash Amarnath)