May 11, 2021 11:13:47 pm
A week after the Supreme Court struck down the Maratha quota, a delegation of Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday met Governor B S Koshyari and handed over a memorandum to forward to the President of India seeking grant of reservation quota to the Maratha community in accordance with the law. Thackeray also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he would soon meet the PM on the same issue.
“Following the SC decision on the Maratha quota, the Union government should look into it and take immediate steps on it. A letter, addressed to the President requesting the same, was given to the Governor today,” said Thackeray while addressing the media after meeting the Governor.
Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan, PWD minister and chairman of cabinet sub-committee on Maratha quota, and other senior ministers and leaders were present.
Thackeray, in his letter to the Governor, requested that the letter be forwarded to the President with “favourable recommendation”. “The government has taken the first step on the issue by meeting the Governor today. The Governor also said that he would convey our feelings (on the issue) to the Centre,” he added.
The CM further said that would soon meet the PM on the issue. “We will soon take the appointment of the PM and meet him on the issue,” he added.
Thackeray said the government is considering taking some decisions to provide relief to the Maratha community until the reservation issue is resolved.
When asked about the BJP’s claim of making foolproof law on Maratha quota, the CM said, “Had the law been foolproof, we would not have come to meet the Governor on it.”
On May 5, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court struck down the Maharashtra law granting reservation to the Maratha community in admissions and government jobs in the state and also refused to refer the 1992 Mandal judgment — setting a 50 per cent cap on reservation — to a larger bench for reconsideration.
Thackeray, in his letters to the President and PM, highlighted that the SC has held, on the 102nd Constitutional amendment, that “all the states are denuded of their power, authority and jurisdiction to identify any community that falls under the category of Socially and Economically Backward Class (SEBC)”.
“There is no doubt that our State is of the view that despite the 102nd Constitutional Amendment, our State continues to have power, authority and jurisdiction to identify Maratha community as the SEBC. However, at this stage, such understanding of my State pales into insignificance, in view of the aforesaid authoritative pronouncement of law made by the Supreme Court,” the CM wrote in the letters to the PM and President. He also highlighted the background about the steps taken by the state on the issue.
Thackeray mentioned that as a consequence of the majority view of the SC, it is the President and the Union government that can identify and notify the Maratha community of the state as SEBC, enabling it to enjoy reservations in education and public employment.
“This is, therefore, to earnestly request you that appropriate steps be taken, albeit in accordance with law, declared by the Supreme Court, to identify and declare Maratha community of my State as SEBC to enable them to claim the reservation in Education and Public Employment, at least to the extent of 12% and 13% respectively,” the CM said, assuring full cooperation by the state on the issue.
Meanwhile, the state government on Tuesday formed an eight-member committee of legal experts headed by Dilip Bhosale, former chief justice of Allahabad High Court, to analyse the Supreme Court order and recommend further steps. The members include senior counsel Rafique Dada and Darius Khambata, a retired IAS officer, and officials of the state’s legal department. The committee has been asked to submit the report by May 31.
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