The state government on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court it had apprehensions about making the State Backward Class Commission report public as some portions on the history of the Maratha community might create “social unrest” and “open healed wounds”.
The HC was hearing three petitions filed by advocates Jaishri Patil and Sanjeet Shukla and Dr Uday Dhople along with others, challenging the notification published by the state government on November 30 providing 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community.
The petitioners have also sought that the commission report be made public. Advocate General A A Kumbhakoni told the court, “We are duty-bound to submit a copy of the report to court. There are some parts which are not relevant to share with petitioners and making it public… some of the parts pertain to the history of the Maratha community… which may cause social unrest. Some wounds already closed may open when faced with it afresh.”
Senior counsel V A Thorat told the court those portions were “volatile” in nature. A bench of Chief Justice Naresh H Patil and Justice M S Karnik asked the state government to consider giving a truncated version, with some parts deleted from the report, to the lawyers.
Thorat then read the affidavit filed by Shivaji Daund, Secretary, General Administration Department (GAD), which said “there is no urgency involved in the present proceedings, in as much as consideration of even ad interim relief” sought by the petitioners. Thorat told the court the recruitment procedure was time-consuming and even if put on fast track was bound to take at least a couple of months to complete the entire process.
During the previous hearing, Patil’s lawyer Gunaratan Sadavarte had informed the court the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) has published an advertisement inviting applications for jobs from the Maratha community. On this, Chief Justice Patil had, however, asked the counsel for the state government: “You know that we were going to hear the case today (December 10), then why was this ad published… you should have at least waited for a day.”
The petitioner’s lawyer told the court the MPSC was not the only authority but there might be different departments conducting appointments under Maratha reservation. Chief Justice Patil asked the state government if there was a possibility to inform all the institutions to make no appointments under Maratha reservation. Thorat told the court the GAD will issue directions to all local bodies and institutions not to make any appointments under the new legislation till January 23. The court also asked the government to file a detailed affidavit on the petition by January 11 and adjourned the case till January 23.