OBC/EBC quotas in Bihar municipal body elections are ruled illegal by the Patna High Court, and the SEC is ordered to renotify OBC/EBC seats as general category: Patna High Court

The Patna High Court ruled on Tuesday in a significant decision that it was against the law to reserve seats in urban local body elections for members of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Extremely Backward Classes. Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sanjay Kumar’s bench in Sunil Kumar v. The State of Bihar and ors (Misc. No. 15524 of 2020) along with connections petitions ordered the State Election Commission (SEC) to reclassify seats in the local elections that had been designated for the Other Backward Classes (OCB) as general category seats.


The Government of Bihar informed the State Election Commission (SEC) in a letter dated April 1, 2022, that, in accordance with the advice of the Law Department, there is no obstacle to beginning the election program for the state’s municipal bodies.

The SEC was asked to start the election process as a result of this. Even though the SEC reminded the Government of the need to create appropriate administrative and legislative mechanisms for complying with the Apex Court’s orders, the Government did not take the suggested measures.

In light of this, the petitioners challenged the April communication before the Patna High Court, requesting that the State Government and other relevant authorities implement the triple test directions that the Supreme Court issued in the Vikas Kishanrao Gawali case.


The court ruled that the State of Bihar did not use the criteria for providing socioeconomic, educational, or service reservations to ensure the electoral representation of Other Backward Classes, including Extremely Backward Classes, in any way.

As a result, the Court concluded:

  • The Government’s and the Election Commission’s decision to reserve seats for OBC/EBC candidates for all municipal bodies in the State of Bihar, governed by the Bihar Municipal Act, 2007 (Act No.11 of 2007) without adhering to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sunil Kumar v. The State of Bihar & Ors.;Krishna Murthy and Co.Union of India v.Gawali Vikas Kishanrao LL 2021 SC 13;State of M.P. v. Suresh Mahajan, 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 463;Maharashtra State v. Rahul Ramesh Wagh;to be illegal, Manmohan Nagar v. The State of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Secretary of the State Election Commission is to conduct the elections solely by re-notifying the OBC-category seats as general category seats as soon as possible.
  • In order to seamlessly comply with the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the aforementioned cases, the State of Bihar may consider enacting comprehensive legislation regarding reservations in elections to urban or rural local bodies.

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