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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

‘Maratha community wants state govt to clear confusion, make reservation a mission’

Vinod Patil, one of the petitioners in the Maratha reservation case and a coordinator of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, in an interview to Manoj More, says the community is waiting for the state government to clear the confusion over its future course of action.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Updated: September 18, 2020 9:21:36 am
maratha reservation, maratha quota, maratha reservation protests, vinod patil, maharashtra maratha reservationMembers of the Maratha community gather near the Collector's office on Thursday.

After the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of Maratha reservation in education and jobs, a sense of unease prevails among the youth of the community, who have been demanding the quota for years. Vinod Patil, one of the petitioners in the Maratha reservation case and a coordinator of the Maratha Kranti Morcha, in an interview to Manoj More, says the community is waiting for the state government to clear the confusion over its future course of action.

What is the response in the Maratha community to the Supreme Court’s stay?

After the Supreme Court gave the interim stay on Maratha reservation, a copy of the order has been received by the state government. But there is no word yet from the government. This has caused confusion among the Maratha community. There is confusion, unease and anger among the Maratha community about the silence from the state government. They have no clue whether they will get reservation or whether they will be deprived of its benefits. They have no idea what the government is planning to do.

We are not being taken into confidence in the government’s decision-making process,… if the Uddhav Thackeray-led government does not make a strong statement, the confusion will prompt Maratha youths to take to the streets.

The state government has announced 12,500 recruitments in the police force. What’s your take on this?

The government has said that the some seats have been reserved for the Maratha community. On what basis is the government saying so? When the Supreme Court has given an interim stay, how can the government go for reservation? This will be in contempt of the court’s order. If someone goes to court, the government will be in trouble.

What is your suggestion to the government ?

The Maratha community wants the government to put recruitments on hold. It can carry out recruitments after the Supreme Court gives its final ruling. What’s the hurry? It should not hurry about reserving seats but it should quicken its pace on getting the stay vacated. The government has tweeted that 13 per cent reservation has been done for the Maratha community in the police force. For us, this has no meaning.

What do you expect from the government?

The Supreme Court has approved those admissions in the education field that have been done so far (on the basis of the reservation), but has given a stay on future admissions. Similarly, it has approved recruitments as well. The government’s job now should be to complete the process of admissions and recruitments, which were delayed due to Covid-19. This can be done as a special case.

For instance, three years ago, when the Supreme Court had ruled that jobs of employees who had submitted invalid caste certificates could not be protected at any cost, the government decided, as a special case, to protect the jobs by creating supernumerary posts and accommodating all of them. The supernumerary post is created for accommodating a permanent officer till he/she is absorbed in a regular permanent post. These posts should be created for a definite period of time, sufficient for the purpose in view.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar has said the government should issue an ordinance on Maratha reservation. What do you think about this suggestion?

I don’t think an ordinance will work at this stage. It did not work in the case of dance bars and so many other cases. A ordinance is brought in when the law is not in place. It lasts for six months. In this case, the law has already been enacted. Therefore, an ordinance has no meaning at this jucnture.

The opposition has alleged that the government failed to rope in top lawyers to fight the case.

We have no objections regarding lawyers who fought the case. The government had roped in top lawyers. The only thing is that there was no strategy in place, no action plan to put forth proper arguments before the court. We think if a proper strategy had been devised, things would have been otherwise. I think government erred on this count.

Some Maratha community coordinators had called for boycotting the chief minister’s meeting?

I don’t know about this. But we have been attending the meetings convened by the chief minister. Unfortunately, except for discussions, there is no other outcome of the meetings… we expected the government to tell us about its future plan, but we have not heard anything so far. The meetings have only disappointed us.

The Maratha community is pressing for filing of a review petition on the SC stay. Do you agree with this view ?

I don’t think seeking a review is the best option. The review petition will go before the same bench which has already given a stay. Why will the same bench lift the stay when there is no new development? I feel that instead of a review petition, we need to approach the Chief Justice of India for getting the stay vacated. Since the Chief Justice will be setting up a larger bench to decide the matter, he will also be part of the same bench.

Congress is alleging that the opposition BJP is trying to provoke Maratha youths to take to the streets aggressively?

Maratha youths are not so gullible that they can be provoked by some leaders. We have patience, we will wait for the government to act decisively in the next few days. If it doesn’t do so, then it will be difficult to stop the angry Maratha youths from taking to the street.

The Chief Minister has said that the Centre should intervene in the matter…

We want the government to involve all parties and leaders to secure justice for the Maratha community, which has been agitating for years. In fact, we want the government to make ‘reservation for the Maratha community’ a mission. All parties and leaders should put up an united front. They should stop playing politics over reservation. The Maratha community is keeping a close watch on how different parties are making efforts or not making efforts when they are seeking justice.

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