The Supreme Court today gave two weeks to the Maharashtra government to reply to the petitions challenging a Bombay High Court order that upheld the constitutional validity of Maratha quota law.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to issue a stay order on the high court judgement and made it clear that the judgement "will not have a retrospective effect". It will be applicable from the date of order, the top court said.
The Bombay High Court last month upheld the state government's decision to provide reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions. The high court, however, cut down on the quantum of 16 per cent approved by the government on the grounds that it was not "justifiable".
After the high court order, the Maharashtra legislature passed a bill on July 1 bringing down reservation for the Maratha community from 16 per cent to 12 per cent in educational institutions and 13 per cent in government jobs.
The top court today heard two petitions challenging the state government's decision.
One of the petitioners, Sanjeet Shukla, a representative of an NGO, "Youth for Equality", claimed in his plea that the quota law "breached the 50 per cent ceiling on reservation fixed by the top court in its landmark judgment in the Indira Sahwney case, also known as the "Mandal verdict".
The state government, anticipating a challenge to the reservation law, had earlier filed a caveat in the top court saying no "ex-parte order should be passed on any plea challenging the high court judgement without hearing the state".
(With inputs from PTI)