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Maharashtra: State seeks Centre’s intervention in Maratha reservation issue

Ahead of the apex court hearing, the state cabinet sub-committee on Wednesday convened a meeting to discuss the legal and constitutional aspects with experts in Mumbai.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: February 25, 2021 1:46:32 am
Maratha Reservation, Maratha quota, Ashok Chavan, supreme court, indian express newsThe regular hearing for Maratha reservation issue is likely to commence from March 8.

The state cabinet sub-committee on Maratha reservation, led by Public Works Department Minister Ashok Chavan, has sought the Centre’s intervention to resolve the issue, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

The regular hearing for Maratha reservation issue is likely to commence from March 8.

Ahead of the apex court hearing, the state cabinet sub-committee on Wednesday convened a meeting to discuss the legal and constitutional aspects with experts in Mumbai.

While reiterating the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s commitment to Maratha reservation, Chavan said, “We will write to the Centre
seeking their intervention to resolve the Maratha reservation issue, which is before the Supreme Court.”

“Several states have filed petitions related to reservation issues in the Supreme Court. Many state PILs have urged the court to consider their matter along with the Maratha reservation case. Since it is not a case in isolation, we also feel the central government should step in and initiate the process to find a way forward,” said Chavan.

The Centre’s Economically Backward Class Act, which promises 10 per cent quota to economically weaker sections, has been challenged through a PIL in the Supreme Court. Another PIL, on Tamil Nadu exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling in granting reservation in state, is also before the SC. Considering all these developments, the Centre should take up the responsibility to expedite the matter and find a lasting solution, said Chavan.

“We have already demanded that the Maratha reservation issue should be heard by larger Constitutional Bench, comprising at least nine or 11 judges. We will insist on a larger bench to avoid legal hurdles ahead. In the past, when the decision was pronounced of 50 per cent quota ceiling, the verdict was by a five-judge bench,” added the minister.

Chavan said the state government has made all necessary preparations, complete with deployment of a highly qualified legal team and constitutional experts, to present its case before the Supreme Court.

“Since the apex court had suggested notice on the matter be served to the attorney general, we would urge the Centre to intervene and resolve the case,” he said.

In September 2019, the Supreme Court had stayed the Maratha reservation granted under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category. The court had referred the matter to a larger constitutional bench for further hearing.

Since September 2019, the government has not made any recruitment of Maratha candidates under reservation in government jobs or educational institutions.

Following the SC stay on reservation, the Maharashtra government is facing many challenges, which were discussed at the sub-committee meeting where Minister for Labour and Excise, Dilip Walse Patil, and Congress Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat were present.

The committee is under pressure from various Maratha organisations, led by Maratha Kranti Morcha, to find a quick solution.

The MKM has warned the state government against conducting any recruitment in government jobs till reservation under SEBC is restored.

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