New Delhi, Jan 19 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it is mandatory to comply with the triple test, laid down in its judgment by the apex court, before reserving seats for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local body polls, as it asked the Maharashtra government to submit OBC data to the state Backward Classes Commission to determine their representation in local bodies.
A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and C.T. Ravikumar said that until the triple test is complied, the Maharashtra government cannot proceed with OBC reservation in the local body elections.
Noting that the state government has asked the court to permit elections based on data on backward classes available with it, the bench suggested the state government should present this data before the dedicated commission for examination of its efficacy, and if found appropriate, then the commission can make recommendations to the state, following which the State Election Commission can take necessary steps.
It also said that the commission can submit the interim report to the authorities concerned within 2 weeks after it receives information from the state. The bench, however, emphasised that any decision by the state has to comply with the triple test in the Vikas Kishanrao Gawali vs State of Maharashtra judgment.
The top court order came on an application filed by Maharashtra government to allow the election based on data already available in connection with OBCs.
On December 6, the Supreme Court stayed the Maharashtra government decision to grant 27 per cent reservation for the OBC, which was brought by an ordinance, in the local body elections until further orders. On December 15, it ordered the SEC and the state government to convert 27 per cent reserved seats for OBC in zila parishads and panchayat samitis into general category, and issue a fresh notification.
The orders came on batch of pleas were filed in the top court challenging the state government's ordinance to provide 27 per cent reservation for OBCs.
A bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar directed the SEC to renotify the OBC seats as general category, so that polls for those seats can take place, as per law, along with elections for remaining 73 per cent, and the results for both polls can be declared simultaneously.
On December 6, the top court had held that 27 per cent OBC reservation could not be implemented without setting up a commission and also without collating "contemporaneous empirical data" to ascertain the extent of reservation required to be provided local body-wise, despite the statutory provision in that regard.