On Wednesday, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis slammed the Maharashtra government for the confusion regarding its stance on the Maratha reservation case in the Supreme Court. This comes after a 5-judge Constitution bench of the apex court comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat announced that it will decide on February 5 the schedule for hearing the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018. Representing the Maharashtra government, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi had requested the bench for an adjournment citing that a case of this nature can only be heard after the physical hearing commences.
The former Maharashtra CM blamed the mess created by the state government for the Maratha community being deprived of reservation in educational institutions and public employment. To buttress his point, he highlighted that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government keep on changing their stance in the apex court. Earlier, senior Congress leader and Maharashtra PWD Minister Ashok Chavan had sought the Maratha quota matter to be heard by a larger bench of the SC.
Ex-Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis remarked, "We are not able to ascertain what the state government is thinking from the manner in which it is dealing with the Maratha reservation case. More petitions are filed in the SC. Then, the state government again asks for time."
"The reservation for Marathas is in a quandary today only because of the mess created by the state government. Serious doubts are raised about the pace at which the state government is approaching this. The state government is not able to form a firm opinion. Every time, the government takes a new stance and communicates new things to the apex court," the BJP leader added.
केवळ राज्य सरकारच्या घोळामुळे मराठा आरक्षणाचा गुंता वाढला. pic.twitter.com/Fcpcmx82g2— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) January 20, 2021
In the SEBC Act which came into force on November 30, 2018, the Maratha community has been declared as a 'Socially and Educational Backward Class'. While upholding the validity of this law, the Bombay High Court reduced the quantum of Maratha reservation to 12% in educational institutions and 13% in public employment. However, in its order delivered on September 9, 2020, a three-judge bench of SC prima facie held that the Maharashtra government has not shown any "extraordinary situation" for providing reservation to the Marathas.
Noting that the 50% reservation ceiling could be relaxed only in extraordinary situations, it added that the Maratha community comprising 30% of Maharashtra's population could not be compared to the marginalized sections of society living in remote areas of the state. Moreover, the SC prima facie observed that the Bombay HC had committed an error in treating certain circumstances as "extraordinary", justifying the relaxation of the reservation ceiling. It ruled that admission to educational institutions for the academic year 2020-21 and appointments to posts under the government will be made without references to the reservations provided in the Act.