The Maratha reservation issue, which has been raging on for some time with no immediate solution in sight, has a new twist, with the Maratha community raising the pitch for an out-of-court settlement instead of letting the issue drag on for years in litigation.
At a state-level meeting held in Pune city on Sunday, the issue of out-of-court settlement was discussed by coordinators of the Maratha Kranti Morcha. Rajendra Kondhare, one of the coordinators who raised the point of out-of-court settlement, has received support from OBC leader Haribhau Rathod, a former MP.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Kondhare said the Maratha community could be easily accommodated in the available 32 per cent OBC quota. “The overall current reservation in Maharashtra is 52 per cent. Of this, the larger OBC quota is 32 per cent. The quota for Scheduled Caste is 13 per cent while the quota for Scheduled Tribe is 7 per cent. Kunbis, who are considered as Marathas socially, are already availing reservation facility under OBC category. The Maratha community consists of Marathas, Maratha-Kunbis, Kunbi-Marathas and Kunbis. And there are 29 different types of Kunbis.”
Kondhare said, “The quota only for OBCs is 19 per cent. 11 per cent is for VJNTs and two per cent for Socially Backward Classes. The VJNTs are divided into four parts. All these are part of the 32 per cent OBC quota currently available in Maharashtra. The VJNTs form 8 per cent of Maharashtra’s population. However, they are getting 11 per cent of the reservation. Marathas form 32 per cent of population and are fighting for reservation. Only the Kunbis among the Marathas are getting the reservation facility. Since Kunbis are already availing the OBC quota, the rest of the Marathas can be easily accommodated in the OBC quota.”
“In fact, instead of the 32 per cent OBC quota, all OBCs can be accommodated in 30 per cent quota. We are ready to reduce our reservation quantum to fit in the 30 per cent OBC quota so that the total reservation in Maharashtra does not exceed 50 per cent. As of now, the total reservation stands at 52 per cent, 2 per cent is constitutionally held invalid,” he added.
Former MP and OBC leader Haribhau Rathod said he strongly feels that the Maratha reservation issue can be resolved through an out-of-court settlement. “They can be accommodated in the existing OBC quota without hurting the OBCs,” he said.
“Based on the Mandal Commission report, I don’t think the Maratha population is 32 per cent of the total state population. The Marathas, I think, are around 10 per cent and the Kunbis, who are also socially considered as Marathas, comprise 10 per cent. Around 70 per cent of the Kunbis already avail the benefit of reservation. So the remaining Marathas and Kunbis can be accommodated in the 32 or 30 per cent OBC quota,” he said.
Rathod said this is an issue which should be discussed, debated and understood by one and all. “The government is also ready for such a settlement. There should be wider discussion on this…. after which, a proposal should be put forth before the state government,” he said.
Kondhare said there is support for Rathod’s view on out-of-court settlement. “If some adjustments are made and the issue is studied at length, I think we can settle the issue instead of dragging it for years in litigation,” he said.
Rathod said as per a Maharashtra government resolution dating back to 2002, Marathas and Kunbhis are the same. “Kunbis are…. half the total Maratha population,” he said.
Currently, the issue of Maratha reservation is before the Supreme Court. The matter has been referred to larger constitutional bench.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines