The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Maharashtra State Election Commission to issue a fresh notification to treat 27% seats reserved for Other Backward Classes (OBC) as general category for local body polls and commence the election process.
A Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and C.T. Ravikumar asked State Election Commission to renotify the 27% OBC constituencies as general seats and resume the election process along with the remaining 73%. On 6 December, the Bench had stayed the 27% reservation for the OBC in the local body elections of Maharashtra until further orders.
It had observed that 27% of OBC Quota could not have been implemented without setting up a commission and without collecting data regarding the inadequacy of representation local government wise.
The apex court was hearing petitions challenging the Maharashtra Ordinance which introduced a 27% OBC quota in the State’s local body elections and the consequent notifications issued by the State Election Commission to give effect to the same.
In September, the Maharashtra government had brought an ordinance to ensure reservation to OBC candidates of rural local body elections six months after the Supreme Court struck down the 27% reservation available stating that it breached the cap mandated by the top court.
The government promulgated the Ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 and Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act for Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayats.
On 4 March, the apex court ruled that the reservation for OBC in local bodies should not result in exceeding the 50% cap in reservation quota mandated by it.
The pleas contended that the Ordinances provide for 27% reservation to the category of Backward Classes of Citizens was contrary to the judgements of the top court.