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Bombay High Court set to pronounce verdict on petition challenging 16 per cent Maratha quota today

A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati H Dangre heard the arguments of the petitioners and the state government for almost two months and reserved its verdict on March 26.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: June 27, 2019 7:22:52 am
mumbai, bombay high court, maratha quota, reservation, maratha community, maratha community resrevation, maharashtra government, jobs, backward class, socially and educationally backward class, mumbai news, indian express news During the course of arguments, advocate Gunratan Sadavarte, appearing for petitioner Jaishri Patil, argued that the state government’s decision to provide 16 per cent reservation was “politically motivated”. (Source: File)

The Bombay High Court will pronounce its verdict on the petitions challenging the state government’s decision to provide 16 per cent reservation under Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act to the Maratha community on Thursday.

The final arguments on the petitions filed by advocates Jaishri Patil, Sanjeet Shukla and Dr Uday Dhople along with others, challenging a notification published by the state government on November 30, 2018, for providing reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions, had commenced on February 6.

A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati H Dangre heard the arguments of the petitioners and the state government for almost two months and reserved its verdict on March 26.

During the course of arguments, advocate Gunratan Sadavarte, appearing for petitioner Jaishri Patil, argued that the state government’s decision to provide 16 per cent reservation was “politically motivated”.

Read | Maratha quota: Maharashtra to allow candidates to take admission sans caste certificates

Senior counsel Arvind Datar, appearing for another petitioner, had argued that reservation above 50 per cent was certainly not for “most prosperous” state, like Maharashtra. He added that the Mandal Commission in 1980 had held that Marathas are not backward, they are “forward” class. Later, other commissions, headed by SN Khatri and RM Bapat, and the National Backward Class Commission had also concluded that Marathas are not a backward class. He added that “unless you show that the report is erroneous” or is “flawed” those reports cannot be ignored.

Senior counsel Shrihari Aney, appearing for Dhople, argued that the government has given special treatment to the Marathas by creating a special category of socially and educationally backward class. He added that Maratha reservation is exclusive in nature and this community has been treated as “special”. Aney added that the state has failed in providing adequate jobs and education, and so people sought reservation. It is also the reason why many people make fake certificates to get jobs and admissions, he said.

Replying to the arguments, the state government said the object of granting 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community is to promote them in service and education. Senior Counsel V A Thorat, appearing for the state, argued that Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India and the Supreme Court’s judgment in Indira Sawhney and others versus Union of India, gives state a power to grant reservation.

On May 20, the Maharashtra governor promulgated an ordinance approving 16 per cent reservation for Maratha community in various government jobs and educational institutes. This also had retrospective effect on medical admissions in state for 2019-20 — a total of 156 seats are reserved for the Maratha community in MD/MS courses in medical colleges across Maharashtra. While current admissions have continued with the SEBC reservation, students in open category stand a chance for admission in these colleges if the court scraps the quota.

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