Cannot postpone polls over OBC reservation: Supreme Court

Sanjay JogUpdated: Saturday, September 11, 2021, 11:20 PM IST
article-image
Supreme Court of India | PTI Photo

Mumbai: In a big blow to the Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court (SC) on Saturday said the state government cannot postpone polls over reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local governing bodies. The apex court said only the Election Commission has the authority to postpone the polls.

Earlier, in a rare show of solidarity, both the ruling and opposition parties in Maharashtra were in consonance on the subject of 27 per cent political reservation for OBCs in local bodies, recently scrapped by the SC.

At a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, parties insisted that no local body elections should take place until the restoration of political reservation for OBCs. The meeting took place after the government’s filing of a petition in the SC with a plea to direct the Centre to share empirical data with the state government.

Later, the ruling and the opposition parties agreed that the task of collecting OBC political reservation data (empirical data) should be done by the State Backward Classes Commission (SBCC).

At the meeting chaired by Thackeray, the participants pointed out that the SBCC can complete the exercise in four months, provided it gets enough funds, the required government machinery and political will. Both ruling and opposition parties also announced if the elections are allowed they will field OBC candidates in vacant seats.

OBC activist Hari Narke said the top court’s decision is on expected lines. “From the very first, I was saying the state government doesn’t have the authority to postpone polls in such a manner. When the Chief Minister had two meetings with the opposition parties, all political leaders were delivering speeches without any knowledge of the Constitution,” Narke said. He added, “According to me, there are only two options left to restore the reservation. First, the Centre should provide the empirical data at the earliest. Second, the state government should take the decision immediately and allow SBCC to begin their work.” The next hearing in the case is set for September 23.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Mumbai updates: City to see moderate rainfall, thunderstorms likely

Mumbai updates: City to see moderate rainfall, thunderstorms likely

Navi Mumbai: NMMC strengthens security at headquarters; installs scanning machines, detectors

Navi Mumbai: NMMC strengthens security at headquarters; installs scanning machines, detectors

Navi Mumbai-based NPO NatConnect wins global award for mangrove conservation campaign

Navi Mumbai-based NPO NatConnect wins global award for mangrove conservation campaign

Maharashtra government allots resolution Rs. 513 crore for Diwali scheme

Maharashtra government allots resolution Rs. 513 crore for Diwali scheme

Navi Mumbai: Labour leader Ravindra Sawant brings smiles to 32 supervisors

Navi Mumbai: Labour leader Ravindra Sawant brings smiles to 32 supervisors