The Supreme Court today rejected the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission’s interim report recommending the restoration of 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local body polls. The apex court also asked the Maharashtra government and the SEC to not act upon the commission’s recommendation. The top court also noted that the commission prepared the interim report without empirical study and research.
The apex court had stayed the 27 per cent quota in local bodies polls by the Maharashtra government in December last year. The court had also directed the state election commission to hold polls without reservation for the OBC quota. A bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice CT Ravikumar today rejected the plea by the Maharashtra government and criticised the interim report.
“The report itself mentions that the same is being prepared in absence of empirical study and research by the Commission. Having failed to do so, the Commission should not have filed the interim report….We, however, direct all concerned not to act upon the interim report as submitted,” said the apex court.
The court also directed the state election commission to notify the poll schedule without delay for around 800 gram panchayats, 5 municipal corporations and 100 municipal councils, elections to which have been delayed. The apex court asked the SEC to hold polls without the OBC quota.
“We direct the SEC to comply with the direction given by this court in order dated 15.12.2021 and restated on 19.01.2022, namely that no reservation for OBC be provided for such local bodies and be notified as general seats,” said the court.
The Maharashtra government had filed an application before the apex court seeking permission to implement the OBC quota in the remaining local body elections as per the recommendation of the Backward Classes Commission.