SC refuses to give interim stay on Maratha quota in postgraduate medical courses, to hold hearing on Sept 1

Mumbai: The politically influential Maratha community and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Monday received a major relief as the Supreme Court has refused to give an interim stay on the 12% quota in the post-graduate medical courses. The apex court, which had announced on July 15 to hold a day to day hearing from July 27, however, today ruled that it will hear the petitions challenging the reservation on September 1. The government has thereby received another one and a half months to make full preparations so that the Maratha quota passes the Supreme Court test.

The apex court held the hearing online. However, the state government brought to the Supreme Court’s notice that it faces a lot of difficulties making submissions of a number of papers online in support of the argument. The state government counsel Paramjit Singh Patvalia pleaded that the hearing needs to take place offline. He was supported by the state government’s senior counsel and former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.

On behalf of the state government, Rohatgi submitted that because of the present COVID-19 crisis there was no recruitment on the cards and thereby sought time for further hearing. The bench asked Rohatgi to clarify that there won’t be fresh recruitment till the Maratha quota case is decided. Rohatgi referred to the state government’s notification issued on May 4 which has clearly said that there will not be any fresh recruitment in wake of coronavirus pandemic.

The bench upheld the state government’s argument and ruled that the hearing in this matter will be held from September 1.

Meanwhile, the apex court will hold a special hearing on August 25 on the applications moved by the state government and by the respondent for hearing the Maratha quota petitions by the Constitution Bench.

The Bombay High Court has upheld the reservation to the Maratha community in June 2019. However, the high court did not accept the state government’s proposal for a 16% quota instead recommended 12% quota in education and 13% in jobs to the Maratha community as per the provisions of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.

However, the petitioners have challenged the Bombay High Court's ruling. They have submitted that the SEBC Act, 2018 breached the 50 percent ceiling on reservation fixed by the apex court in its landmark judgment in the Mandal verdict.

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