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SC: Provisions for OBC quota in local bodies can’t breach 50% limit

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New Delhi, March 4 : The Supreme Court said on Thursday that provisions for reservations of seats for OBCs in local bodies cannot breach the 50 per cent limit.
A bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi said that reservation for OBCs is only a “statutory” dispensation to be provided by the state legislations, unlike the “constitutional” reservation for SCs/STs, which is linked to the proportion of population.
“As regards the state legislations providing for reservation of seats in respect of OBCs, it must ensure that in no case the aggregate vertical reservation in respect of SCs/STs/OBCs taken together should exceed 50 per cent of the seats in the concerned local bodies,” the bench said.
The top court quashed the results of OBC reserved seats in local bodies in the districts of Washim, Akola, Nagpur and Bhandara in Maharashtra. The top court also directed the State Election Commission to take immediate steps to announce elections in respect of such vacated seats of the concerned local bodies, not later than two weeks from Thursday, to be filled by general/open category candidates for the remainder term of the panchayats/samitis.
The bench said the quantum of reservation for OBCs ought to be local body specific and be so provisioned to ensure that it does not exceed the quantitative limitation of 50 per cent (aggregate) of vertical reservation of seats for SCs/STs/OBCs taken together. The top court also read down provisions of the Maharasthra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 to hold that reservation for OBCs may be up to 27 per cent but subject to the outer limit of 50 per cent aggregate.
The bench said besides this inviolable quantitative limitation, the state authorities are obliged to fulfil other preconditions before reserving seats for OBCs in the local bodies.


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