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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

‘Devoid of merit’: Maharashtra govt urges HC to dismiss pleas challenging GR against quota in promotion

The state said that since the apex court is already seized of the matters challenging the May 7 GR, the “HC should not interfere in the petitions which are devoid of merit.”

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
June 23, 2021 10:11:33 pm
While seeking to know when the work will be completed, the Bombay HC also sought a progress report on the highway widening work from the authorities.

Urging the Bombay High Court not to entertain “petitions which are devoid of merit”, the Maharashtra government has sought dismissal of a clutch of pleas challenging its May 7 government resolution (GR), scrapping 33 per cent reservation in promotions for persons employed through quotas for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Vimukt Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) and Special Backward Class (SBC) categories. The state government, through the GR, had directed for promotions on the basis of seniority.

The government, through an affidavit in the HC, stated that the GR was in accordance with the law prevailing in the state and was subject to the outcome of further orders of the Supreme Court, which is hearing the special leave petitions (SLPs) filed after the Bombay HC, in 2017, struck down the 2004 GR that introduced reservation in promotion.

The state said that since the apex court is already seized of the matters challenging the May 7 GR, the “HC should not interfere in the petitions which are devoid of merit.”

On Tuesday, senior counsel Mihir Desai, representing the state government, submitted an affidavit in the regard to a division bench of Justice KK Tated and Justice RI Chagla, hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the May 7 GR. The decision to scrap the nearly two-decade-old policy came two days after the Supreme Court quashed quota for the Maratha
community.

The affidavit filed through Sumant Bhange, Secretary, General Administration Department, stated that on March 22, the state had issued a GR, whereby a committee under the chairmanship of the state Chief Secretary was formed to collect data pertaining to inadequacy of representation and effect on overall efficiency in administration due to reservation. The committee was due to submit the report within a month, he added.

However, the affidavit said the work of collecting data was still in progress as the committee could not submit the report within stipulated time due to the “second wave” of Covid-19 pandemic, adding the proposal to extend the period for submission of report was being considered. The government further said that it did not want to face “contempt proceedings” by granting reservation in promotion on “ad-hoc” basis as the 2017 HC order that struck down 2004 GR had still not been stayed by the Apex court. Therefore, the pleas should be dismissed, it said.
The HC is likely to hear the pleas next month.

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