The Centre has filed a review petition on the Supreme Court judgment conferring the President with the sole power to identify a community as 'backward' and eligible for reservation benefits. The petition has argued that states cannot be stripped of their powers to identify socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC).

What

  1. The Supreme Court on 5 May 2021 ruled that only the President (read the Centre) can take decisions on declaring a community as SEBC and upheld the 102nd constitutional amendment denuding the power of states in this regard.
  2. Three of the five judges on the bench held that the 102nd amendment has taken away the power of states to decide on designating SEBCs and now only the President can take a decision.
  3. The other judges however maintained that states can also identify SEBCs and there would be two lists – central and state lists – of backward communities as has been the practice for the last 68 years.
  4. State governments have been expanding the list of SEBCs, the official jargon for “OBC status”, which entitles the recipient community to quota benefits.
  5. The SC verdict of 5 May 2021 meant states will be restricted to making recommendations to the Centre in favour of the “aspiring” backwards.