ARGUING AGAINST reservation for members of the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions, senior counsel Pradeep Sancheti told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday said that one of the five agencies that surveyed 43,000 families, based on which Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC) concluded that Marathas are socially backward, is associated with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
A Division Bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati H Dangre was hearing final arguments in three petitions filed by advocates Jaishri Patil, Sanjeet Shukla and Dr Uday Dhople along with others, challenging the notification published by the state government on November 30, 2018, providing 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas.
Sancheti argued that as per the MSBCC report, Rambhau Mahalagi Sanstha, an organisation that had surveyed 5,499 families in Konkan region, is associated with the BJP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the RSS.
He further told the court that Balasaheb Sarate, the head of Chhatrapathi Shivaji Sanstha — another agency that surveyed 15,000 people — is one of the petitioners supporting the Maratha reservation in the ongoing arguments. Sancheti said that Sarate, in his report, has stated that Marathas are socially and economically backward class (SEBC) and also a depressed class.
Sancheti argued that the various commissions and orders passed from time to time had stated that for the purpose of ascertaining whether a particular community is backward, the criteria of backwardness have to be compared with the state average. The MSBCC has not compared the figures in the sample survey with the state average, he said.
Sancheti pointed out that the data from the MSBCC report shows that up to 35 per cent of Marathas have completed education till primary level while the Rane Committee (it had earlier surveyed 4.5 lakh Marathas) had put the figure at 15 per cent. He said that the MSBCC report has zeroed in on the 35 per cent figure because the surveys were conducted in extremely rural areas.