The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Maharashtra law granting quota to Marathas in admissions and government jobs, dubbing it "unconstitutional". Refusing to refer the Mandal judgement to a larger bench for reconsideration, the apex court held that there were no exceptional circumstances to breach the 50% reservation cap.
But as the verdict set social media abuzz, the efforts of Jaishri Patil cannot be overlooked. In 2018, Advocate Gunaratne Sadavarte had moved court against the Maratha reservation bill on behalf of his wife. Patil, who has a doctorate in law, has been practising in Bombay High Court and Supreme Court for the last 22 years. Since 2018, the duo have repeatedly faced abuse, threats and attacks for their efforts. But as they insisted in interviews, the attacks had only made them more determined to stand their ground.
More recently, in 2021, she had made headlines after filing a petition against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. On the basis of this petition, the Bombay High Court had asked the CBI director to conduct a preliminary inquiry within 15 days and to register an FIR if any cognizable offence was found.
The judgement came on a batch of pleas challenging the Bombay High Court verdict which had upheld the grant of reservation to Marathas in admissions and government jobs in the state. The five-judge bench gave four verdicts, while concurring unanimously on three major issues including that the grant of Maratha quota is invalid.
Justices LN Rao, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat concurred with Justice Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer in upholding the constitutional validity of the 102nd amendment but said states cannot decide on the list of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and only the President has the power to notify it. Justices Bhushan and Nazeer in their minority view said both the Centre and State have powers to decide on the list of SEBC. The majority verdict also directed the Centre to notify a fresh list of SEBCs, and said till the time notification is being issued the existing list will holds its place.
The bench also said that appointments made in government jobs and admissions in post graduate courts after the Bombay High Court verdict of 2019 upholding Maratha quota and September 9, 2020 order of the top court staying the implementation of quota will not be affected.
(With inputs from agencies)