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Mandal verdict: SC seeks responses from states to reconsider 50% reservation

A five-judge Apex Court bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, was hearing the pleas challenging the validity of Maratha reservations. The verdict in the case of the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India -- also known as the Mandal verdict -- capped reservations at 50 percent.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from all states on whether the 50 per cent ceiling limit on reservation needs to be reconsidered.

A five-judge Apex Court bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, was hearing the pleas challenging the validity of Maratha reservations. The verdict in the case of the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India — also known as the Mandal verdict — capped reservations at 50 per cent.

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The bench gave a week time to all the states to respond with their submissions after some of them sought time. The arguments will continue tomorrow before the top court.

The ceiling was imposed by a nine-judge Constitution Bench in the Indira Sahwney case in 1992, wherein the court strictly held that reservation cannot exceed 50 per cent. However, the bench did indicate that in exceptional circumstances, reservation could be extended.

Notably, several states have exceeded the 50 per cent limit on reservations which include Tamil Nadu (69 per cent), Haryana (67 per cent) and Telangana (62 per cent).

The bench also asked the states to respond to a 2018 Constitution (102nd amendment) Act brought about by Parliament, which gave constitutional recognition to National Commission for Backward Classes. Article 342A was introduced via the amendment, by which the competence of states to make laws on reservation for Backward classes was taken away.

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