CASE COMMENTARY – Vikas Kishanrao Gawali vs The State of Maharashtra


Decided on 4 March 2021

Supreme Court Bench: Hon`ble Justice A.M Khanwilkar, Hon`ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari & Hon`ble Justice C.T. Ravikumar


This case revolved with the same subject matter as dealt in the holding of N Krishna Murthy Vs. Union of India, which laud down that the quota for Backward Class (BC) in local self-Government under Indian Constitution is not said to be valid. In the pronunciation of the judgment, it is said that the respondents are not obliged to reserve more than 50% of the allocated seats for the quota in the local self-government for SC/ST/OBC, unless if there is any exception. The judgment was declared that Article 243 – D (6) and Article 243 – T (6) has no provisions or conditions in relative to the identification of Backward Categories.

In regard with applications of this case, Section 12 (2) (c) of Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act of 1961 was said to be unconstitutional, under the writ petitions filed. Also, the updates by Maharashtra Electoral Commission on 27/07/2018 and 14/02/20 were under discussion regarding their validity as they provide reservation quota of more than 50% in local-self-governance elections Washim, Akola, Nagpur and Bhandara which was demanded to be unconstitutional. The court held that not all the people of this committee are being benefitted under this reservation quota in professional and various other sectors which signify the necessity for the reservation in local self-government. Also, the validity of the Articles 14, 16, 243-D, and 243-T of the Indian Constitution were under discussion during the argument, and no specific type of methodology was mentioned for the due process of reservation.

Therefore, the state of Maharashtra also was unable to evaluate the provisions of the legislations in force which could be contrary to the landmark judgment which was already stated for the enforcement of the directions involved. After which, the writ petition was filed in Supreme Court under the provisions of Article 32 of the Indian Constitution.

Provisions Involved:

Constitution of India:

  • Article 14: The state cannot deny any person equality before the law or with the territory within India.
  • Article 243- D (6), Article 243-T (6), Articles 243-D(6) and 243-T(6) is composed of the simple measures and authorities which stated about the rights that State Legislature holds to reserve seats for backward classes.
  • Article 340: Facilitates freedom for the appointment a commission to investigate regarding the condition for the development of social and education background for backward class.

Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961

  • Section 12(2) (c) states about the seats to be reserved for people of the community of Backward Class of citizens, who should be 27% of the total number of seats to be filled by election of the  Zilla Parishad, and such seats shall be distributed to various electoral divisions in the provinces of Zilla Parishad by rotation.


  • Whether it is constitutional for the state assembly to provide reservations to SC/ST/OBC categories for more than 50% in their Local self-government constituencies?
  • Whether it is recognized by the judgment that is it applicable to reserve tickets for OBCs within the limit allowed as mentioned in the 1961 Act?
  • Whether it is possible to get the reservations increased to 50% of the total seats under any exceptional scenarios?


Contentions made by petitioner:

  • As the counsel of petitioner, it was stated that the act involved overrules the provisions of Article 243D and 243T, and also including Articles 14 & 16 of the Indian Constitution. A graphical representation was made by them to focus the proportion of reservation in the district which constitutes 50% of the total seats.
  • It was further argued that according to the dicta in the judgment of the case K. Krishna Murthy & Ors. V. Union of India, it is evident that the defendants don’t hold the authority to retain more than 50% of the seats in quota for reservation in various local self-governments.
  • The argument further stated that all these necessity of implementing reservation was to value the weaker sections of the community by the evaluation of the backward communities with statistical research before the allocation and separation of the seats.
  • They stated the necessity of the state government in their involvement towards this issue in framing the fundamentals or to form a commission to take suitable measures for the allocation of seats for OBCs in the local governments of the municipalities. Also, the state government is obliged to make necessary modifications involving the act and to dig deeper into the establishment of the commission and the implications of the act.
  • Further, it was argued about Section 12 of the 1961 Act regarding the prohibition of the defendants from getting themselves reserved of 27% of the seats in the respective Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis.

Contentions made by respondent:

  • The counsels of the respondent stated that the reservations supporting OBCs, signifies in supporting the vast population of the country which is very extensive to determine regarding the subject matter, which would definitely be the contradiction of the dicta passed by the Court’s Constitutional Bench, where it was unnoticed and neglected previously.
  • Further, the respondent counsel argued that the current writ petitions filed should not be accepted as the remedy stated was already held in the High Court. They also stated regarding the contentions already made in the high court in the determination of the issue, in concern with the scope of declaring the decision made by the Court’s Constitutional Bench, in the case of case K. Krishna Murthy & Ors. V. Union of India.
  • The respondent counsel further argued that this subject matter would be resolved before insisting the State’s Election Commission to allocate or to reserve seats for OBC quota in local authorities stating the true nature.
  • The counsel further stated in their affidavit regarding the adjournment of the writ petition for any other consideration. This was actually implemented especially due to the affidavit submitted by the State in the court, along with the written entries submitted along with after considering the concluding part of the arguments.
  • Concluding, the respondent counsel, mentioned the special leave petition to be rejected in reference with the proofs, evidences and various other arguments stated.


The apex court decided that, it becomes mandatory for the state to pass the Triple Test:

  1. To set up dedicated commission to conduct rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature of backwardness.
  2. To specify proportion of reservation to be provisioned so as to not fall foul of over breadth.
  3. These reservations shall not exceed aggregate of 50% of total seats reserved in favour of SC/ST/OBCs together.

The seats reserved for the OBCs for the district assembly constituencies would be legally binding under Section 12(2) C only if it fulfills the conditions stated in the triple test. The court decided that the applications were unlawful and illegal as they provided provisions for OBC community seat reservations. As a result, the results of the election, the members elected were declared to be null and void in law, and the seats vacated as a result of such a declaration must be replaced as stated as soon as possible. Moreover, the court stated that the declaration made by the State Electoral Commission, providing reservation to the OBCs is not legally binding by nature and declared to be null and void by nature.

The decision in the miscellaneous application of the case was declared on October 21, 2021. Its miscellaneous application was dismissed, stating that no additional reviews could be made in this case. Though, the court doesn’t get involved in the applicability and the effectiveness of the order passed.

Defect of Law:                                                                      

The judgment was concluded to be fairly favoring the reservation of members for OBCs in politics, and the court was very clear that it has nothing to affect and doesn’t involve the social and economic conditions of the communities which are not associated with political weakness in the notable case. Availability and implementation of policies to education and employment is impeded in unique methods in accessing the state.

The Court accelerated to involve the declaration of the legal of the 50 per cent (quantitative limitation) with respect to reservations in favor of SCs/STs/OBCs quotas noted should not be violated. The statement pointed out is that the disadvantages involving the sector of education and economic is no way related with the political sector and doesn’t involve the provisions involved in the act and couldn’t suppress the actions.


The contradiction always lies within the government of India and the Indian Judiciary in the allocation of reservation for the weaker sections, the judgment acts as a landmark in the reservation sector undoubtedly. Also, this judgment facilitates in the formation of various committees for the improvisation of the backward classes as separate local bodies needs a separate committee for monitoring based on the differentiation of their grievances. It is evident that the socio and economic nature of the community doesn’t affect the political nature of the backward classes.

This judgment would definitely play a vital role in the rights behold by the weaker sections, the appointment of committees and the commissioners would be a major part in the development of the weaker bodies of the society.