February 3, 2021 3:08:02 am
IN A fallout of Maharashtra Public Service Commission’s faux pas in the ongoing Maratha quota stir, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government on Tuesday shunted out the commission’s secretary Pradeep Kumar.
Kumar, a 1987-batch IFS officer who was only recently promoted to the rank of principal chief conservator of forest, has been replaced by Swati Mhase-Patil, an IAS officer, who was previously posted as a joint secretary with the state’s information technology department.
Earlier this month, an affidavit filed by the MPSC in the ongoing Maratha quota case in the Supreme Court had triggered a major political storm in Maharashtra.
In what was a major embarrassment for the Thackeray-led coalition, the MPSC’s application to the court, which was subsequently withdrawn, had effectively made a case for proceeding with all pending recruitment processes undertaken by the commission without taking the Maratha quota into account. This had caused serious disquiet in the ruling coalition, which was trying hard to assure the politically significant Maratha community that it will put up a strong defence in favour of the reservation in the Supreme Court.
While the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led regime had extended 12 per cent reservation in education and 13 per cent in jobs to the Maratha community in 2018, this has been put on hold after the Supreme Court, on September 9 this year, passed an interim stay on these reservations.
Earlier on December 23, the government, in a bid to assuage the restive community groups, had announced that during the pendency of the reservation, students and job aspirants belonging to the community will be entitled to a share in the 10 per cent reservations in both education and jobs applicable to the Economically Weaker Sections.
In its application to the court, the MPSC had sought directions from the court to “revise the final result and merit list of all recruitment processes concluded by the MPSC after November 30, 2018, thereby deleting all the benefits accruing from the implementation of the SEBC Act, 2018 but without disturbing the results of the penultimate stages of the recruitment process result of pre-exam, mains exams”. It had further asked the court to issue “revised recommendations to the Maharashtra government in this regard” and also sought directions for permission to “issue fresh public advertisements including corrigendums to all previously issued public advertisements regarding these recruitment processes.” Following a backlash from the community, the affidavit was withdrawn. But contending that the MPSC’s move had effectively put the fate of over 2,185 Maratha candidates who had qualified the MPSC exams between November 2018 and September 2019 in jeopardy, Maratha outfits had been pressuring the government to initiate action in the case.
In its explanation to the government following the fiasco, the MPSC, meanwhile, had claimed that the application was necessitated after the government failed to give them clarity on the fate of the Maratha reserved candidates affected by the court stay. It had also argued that senior state bureaucrats were consulted before the application was filed. Kumar was not given a fresh posting on Tuesday and has been put on compulsory waiting.
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