The Uddhav Thackeray-led government has decided against taking the Ordinance route for restoration of reservations in education and jobs to the Maratha community.
According to sources, the state government favours the option of filing an application in the Supreme Court (SC), pleading for the vacation of the stay on the reservations extended to the community.
In an interim order passed on September 9, a three-judge bench of the SC, headed by Justice L N Rao, had stayed reservations in government jobs and college admissions for the Marathas, which were extended in 2018 when the erstwhile BJP-Shiv Sena government was in power.
The state legislature, at that time, had unanimously passed the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018, for granting the reservation. It was later upheld by the Bombay High Court, which allowed 12 per cent and 13 per cent reservation for the youth from the community in education institutions and government jobs, respectively.
On Wednesday, Uddhav had convened a high-level meeting of representatives of all major political parties, Maratha outfits and legal experts, where various options to overcome the stay were discussed.
Since the SC’s interim order had also referred the matter to a larger bench to determine the validity of the Maratha quota, the government plans to seek the constitution of a five-judge bench to hear its application for the vacation of the interim stay.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the Ordinance option — suggested by NCP president Sharad Pawar and other leaders — for the restoration of the quota and filing of a review petition or a recall application before the original three-member bench were also explored.
Sources, however, said that the general consensus was that moving the SC for the vacation of the interim stay was the best option.
While maintaining that the chief minister will announce the next steps in this regard in a day or two, Public Works Department Minister Ashok Chavan, who heads the ministerial sub-committee regarding Maratha reservations, indicated that the government favoured the move to go back to the SC, and “will likely challenge the stay by next Monday or Tuesday”.
During Wednesday’s meeting, various policy measures to pass on quota benefits to the community during the pendency of the appeal were also discussed.
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday announced that his department has decided to set aside 13 per cent posts in the proposed recruitment drive for the constabulary, pending the fate of the quota issue in the courts.
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