A day ahead of the third phase of the Lok Sabha 2019 elections, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in an electoral conversation with Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on Republic Bharat elaborated on the 16% reservation for the Maratha community.
Amplify over the issue, the Maharashtra Chief Minister delving into history stating how post-independence, the community fell out of the reservation bracket.
He said, "Now, let me tell you, do you know, when did Maratha community get reservation? When Chhatrapati Shahu ji Maharaj brought affirmative action for the first time in this country and under that affirmative action those who got reservation, Maratha
Community was one of those."
"This is unfortunate that after our independence some commissions were formed that kept Maratha community out of reservation. The community which fell under reservation was not provided reservation," he added.
Furthermore, Fadnavis claimed the right to reservation citing the Indian Constitution, and how the case passed the scanner of the 'Backward Class Commission'
He said, "First thing is- it is clearly written in the Indian Constitution that those who are backward should be given reservation. It has been mentioned in the constitution that the backward caste commission will declare those backward, will get reservation. In Maharashtra, Marathas case went to the Backward Class Commission, in that case, Backward Class Commission gave a report in which it recommended that it is a backward caste, it should get reservation. We gave it to them."
Fadnavis reiterated the constitutional stand of the reservation saying, "Reservation is under the law and we gave them the reservation by following the Constitutional mandate. We didn't do anything unconstitutionally. Our law, our Constitution, our supreme court have given such judgments that this has been regulated."
The reservation is not applicable for Marathas contesting for local body elections, unlike the ones belonging to Scheduled Tribe and Schedules Castes. The bill does not offer any reservation on education qualifications required for government jobs.
The Cabinet's move came after months of protests undertaken by the members of the community demanding reservations for jobs and education. In November last year, the BJP government in the state created a category- socially and economically backward class to provide reservations of the Maratha Community.
The previous state government of NCP-Congress alliance had granted 16% reservation to the community in education and jobs but, the decision was stayed by the Bombay High Court. Marathas had been seeking quota in government jobs and institutions since a number of years. But their demands have been struck down by at least three state governments, Mandal Commission as well as once by the judiciary as well.