The state government on Friday told the Bombay High Court that 16 per cent reservation has been provided to the Marathas to “alleviate the community from its social and educational backwardness” and considering the inadequacy of its representation in public employment.
The government was responding to three petitions filed by advocates Jaishri Patil, Sanjeet Shukla and Dr Uday Dhople, along with many others, challenging the notification published by the government on November 30, 2018, to provide 16 per cent reservation to the community in jobs and education.
State files reply to 3 pleas against reservation
As soon as the state government issued a notification on November 30, 2018, providing 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas, three petitions were filed before the Bombay High Court challenging the Act. This is the second affidavit filed by the state government, answering all allegations levelled in the three petitions. Now that the state has filed its replied, the petitioners will file their rejoinders on the affidavit. After this, the court will hear both the parties to decide if there should be a stay on the reservation.
The 38-page affidavit filed by Secretary (General Administration Department) Shivaji Daud stated that the petitions, seeking a stay on the Act at the interim stage, deserves to be rejected. The government also asserted that the ceiling of 50 per cent reservation imposed by the Supreme Court cannot be made applicable to all the states.
The affidavit stated that while the state government has passed the Act based on data, surveys, facts, statistics, records, analysis, investigation and research among others, none of the petitioners have bothered to place any record to substantiate their allegations. The new Act only seeks to “fullfil the constitutional duty of ensuring adequate representation to a socially backward class of citizens in educational institutions and in public services, in order to alleviate the community from its social and educational backwardness”, it added.
The government said that the Act was enacted following recommendations submitted by the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes. “The commission has taken into consideration each and every aspect and collected requisite and reliable data concerning the social, educational and economical backwardness of the community and after considering all the aspects… it has come to a conclusion that the Maratha community is a socially, educationally and economically backward community,” the affidavit said.
It further said that the commission, while making its recommendations, was assisted by several agencies, research and data from public documents, state departments, universities as well as various judgments of the Supreme Court and high court. “It is perhaps the best ever report that has studied voluminous documents and carried out surveys and evaluation, which no other commission or committee has ever undertaken in the entire country…”
On who was the custodian and regulator of social justice, the affidavit said: “It is undoubtedly the elected government of the people, by the people and of the people… the legislature understands and correctly appreciates the needs of its own people and its laws are directed to problems made manifest by experience. There may be crudities and inequities in complicated legislation but on the account, the legislation cannot be stuck down.”
On the ceiling of 50 per cent reservation imposed by the Supreme Court, the government said: “For sake of justice, the ceiling of 50 per cent on total reservation cannot be made applicable to all states and union territories because of the different demographic structure and varied proportion of population of reserved classes in states and union territories,” it said.
“…To balance the inequalities and to achieve the adequacy of representation, extra weightage needs to be given to the backward classes by increasing the limit of 50 per cent,” it added. A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati Dangre will take up the petitions for hearing on January 23.