OBC Reservation in Local Body Polls

The Supreme Court (SC) of India while hearing a plea by the Maharashtra government decided to recall its December 2021 order, which stayed 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local body elections.

The Supreme Court has entrusted the Backward Classes Commission with the responsibility of giving political reservation to OBCs in the upcoming local body elections in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra is not the only state where OBC reservation in local bodies was stayed. In December 2021, the top court passed a similar order for the Madhya Pradesh government, directing the OBC seats to be notified as general category for failing to comply with the three-test criteria (as stated in the 2010 judgement).

In March 2021, the SC asked the state government to comply with triple conditions — setting up a dedicated commission for collecting empirical data on the OBC population, specifying the proportion of reservation and ensuring that the cumulative share of reserved seats don’t breach 50% of total seats.

Following the SC order, the government appointed the dedicated commission for empirical data of OBCs and also promulgated an ordinance to give up to 27% reservation to the OBCs in local bodies without exceeding the 50% ceiling limit of the reservation.

However, the apex court stayed it in December 2021, saying it cannot be implemented without the empirical data, and asked the State Election Commission (SEC) to convert the OBC seats into the general category and hold the elections.