In a big win for the Fadnavis-led Maharashtra State government, the Bombay High Court on Thursday has upheld the Backward Commission report about the backwardness of the Maratha community, granting the Maratha reservation given by the State government.
While commenting that reservation should not cross 50%, the court deemed this as an exceptional case but added that 16% reservation was not justifiable, as per sources. The court has reduced the quantum of the reservation to 12% and 13% for social (jobs) and educational purposes, as per sources, in response to the petition challenging the constitutional validity of the reservation passed by the Fadnavis government in 2018.
The court further stated that there will be no more stay is on this order for appealing in the Supreme Court, adding that the order was effective immediately, as per sources.
Petitioners had argued that the government has destroyed the concept of equality by setting up a special category - Socially and Educationally Backward Class - for the Maratha community. They also claimed that as per the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission report, Marathas and Kunbis are one and belong to the same caste and hence, should be included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category. As per sources, petitioners who had asked for 16% reservation, plan to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Earlier on last Friday, the Maharashtra Legislative State Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) and the State Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) had passed an Amendment in SEBC Act 2018 (Socially Economically Backward Class) in which students of Maratha community in PG Medical Admission will get 16% reservation.
The amended Bill states:
Clause (a) of sub-section 4 of the said Act, provides that, notwithstanding any contained in any judgement, decree or order of any court or other authority, and subject to other provisions of the said Act, 16% of the total seats in educational institutions including private whether aided or non aided, other than minority educational institutions referred to in clauses (1) of article 30 of the Indian constitution shall be separately reserved for SEBC including the Maratha community.
The state had introduced an ordinance earlier which has been now converted into a bill clearing the way for Maratha reservation in admission in the state's private and government educational institutions for undergraduate and Post-graduate courses and appointments in public services.
While the Supreme Court had barred the state from implementing the act in the current academic year's admissions and had restrained any other courts from entertaining any plea related to admission to PG medical courses, the amendment nullified the apex court's order.
The state had seen countless protests both in the capital and in many districts demanding the immediate passage of the reservation in 2018, which has finally led to fruition with the High Court's verdict.