It will be “impossible” for the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government to implement its decision to give reservation to the Maratha community through a special category, according to a constitutional expert.
“The Chief Minister’s announcement, about reservation through the SEBC (socially and economically backward category), can’t be implemented. It is impossible to implement… I think Fadnavis is buying time till elections. Tomorrow, he may declare that, look we gave reservation, but the court has stopped us from implementing it,” said Ulhas Bapat, the constitutional expert. He said the decision of the state government was bound to be challenged in court, which will put an “immediate stay on it”.
The government’s move, to create a separate category for Maratha reservation, was mere “wordplay”, said Bapat. “The term social and educationally backward is applicable to all OBCs. Therefore, to put Marathas in the OBC category or outside, is one and the same,” he said.
Explaining the different kinds of reservation allowed by the Constitution, Bapat said, “First, is the legislature reservation, which is for every 10 years and can be extended for another 10 years through a constitutional amendment…”. The second reservation is ensured by Article 15 of the Constitution, said Bapat. “This is for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes/ Backward Classes and Women. A special provision for reservation is made for these sections,” he said. Bapat said the third kind of reservation falls under Article 16 (4) of the Constitution. Citing the Indra Sawhney case, Bapat said the Supreme Court had clearly stated that reservation can’t exceed 50 per cent. “What Supreme Court says… it is binding on all courts in the country,” he said.