THE BOMBAY High Court on Friday directed all parties including the Maharashtra government to clear their stand on reservation for the Marathas before it can commence hearing petitions regarding the issue.
The court is hearing a bunch of petitions both in support and against the 2014 decision of the previous NCP-Congress government to give 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and education.
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In November 2014, the HC had ordered an interim stay on the reservation, the final hearing on which is being conducted now. On Friday, a division bench of Justices Anoop V Mohta and GS Kulkarni asked all parties to submit in writing their arguments by the next hearing on October 13.
“You have come with your issues..we are telling everyone to write down those points. We will take it up one by one,” the court said.
The court was informed that after the HC stay on the state government’s decision, the state had not filed any affidavit on its stance on the issue.
Senior advocate Ravi Kadam, representing the state government, said the state had taken out two civil applications. “Till a decision is reached, students who had got the benefit of reservations before the interim stay should be protected and posts which were created in the government under the policy should be kept vacant,” he argued before court.
An Aurangabad-based group supporting the reservations also sought to intervene in the matter. The court will hear all matters during the next hearing. The announcement of reservations by the NCP-Congress government was seen as a pre-poll move.
A PIL filed by one of petitioners, Ketan Tirodkar, had submitted that the state government had wrongly termed the Maratha community economically and socially backward.
The HC, while granting an interim stay, had said reservation in Maharashtra had already crossed 50 per cent violating a Supreme Court mandate which states it cannot exceed 50 per cent.
In the wake of silent protests by the Maratha community in the state, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said the government is committed to meet the demand for reservation for the community.