Amid the ongoing Maratha quota stir, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) has rapped the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for not taking a call on whether the benefit of 10 per cent reservation under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category was applicable to those who had availed admission under the now-stayed Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) quota. The state has been asked to file an affidavit in this regard.
In an interim order pronounced on December 18, a division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and Shrikant D Kulkarni, which was hearing a petition of three job aspirants from the Maratha community, stated, “It would have been appropriate if the government would have taken a decision as to whether the benefit of the EWS ought to be granted to the candidates who have applied from the SEBC category and the said reservation is stayed by the Apex Court. It appears that the decision to that effect has not been taken.”
The petitioners, Sheetal Zirpe, Varsha Akat and Vikram Warpe, had earlier applied for the vacant posts of tehsildar under the SEBC category and had been shortlisted for appointments. However, after the apex court stayed the implementation of the SEBC quota on September 9, their appointments were kept in abeyance by the state government, prompting them to approach the court for relief. The petitioners had pleaded that they should be allowed to avail the reservation benefit under the EWS.
Advocate Vishal Kadam, the petitioners’ lawyer, said, “The posts were advertised in 2019 and the petitioners had been selected under the SEBC category in February 2020 itself. But their appointments orders were not issued owing to the coronavirus pandemic and later, due to the suspension of the SEBC quota.”
He added, “Our main contention was that the petitioners had secured more marks than the EWS applicants and even had EWS certificates.” The petitioners argued that the state government had not correctly interpreted the SC’s stay order.
While placing the matter for further hearing on January 14, the HC bench expressed dismay at the government. In its interim orders, it stated, “The government shall not appoint candidates from the EWS category possessing less marks than the petitioners.” The state has been asked to file an affidavit in the matter.
While the case pertains to the tehsildar posts, Kadam said that the interim order may impact the outcome of job recruitments in other departments as well.
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