To “protect” admissions granted to Maratha students under the 16 per cent reservation for the community, the Maharashtra Cabinet on Friday gave its approval to promulgate an ordinance to bypass a Supreme Court judgment that barred the state from implementing the quota for admissions to the post-graduate medical courses this year.
The Cabinet meeting was held after the state received permission from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to promulgate the ordinance even as the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections was in place.
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“The SC decision would have led to the cancellation of the admissions of 195 students. Under it, 22 students, who could have gotten admissions elsewhere across the country, had taken admissions in the state under the Maratha quota. So, the doors for them were closed in the Centre and the state. So, the decision of promulgating an ordinance has been taken to protect the admissions of these students,” Chandrakant Patil, revenue minister, told mediapersons after the Cabinet meeting.
Patil added the state would request the court to extend the time for completing the college admissions process from May 25 to May 31. “The state government will give scholarships to the affected open category students who will take admissions in private colleges and deemed universities,” he said. Patil added that it has also sent a proposal to the Centre for increasing the 227 seats in the medical courses.
On a question that a section of open category students might challenge the Ordinance, Patil said the state government would file caveats in the Bombay High Court, its two benches and in the Supreme Court.
Following statewide protests by Marathas, the Fadnavis government had on November 30, 2018, cleared a 16 per cent quota for the community in education and government jobs, identifying them as Socially and Economically Backward Class (SEBC). On March 8, the government had issued a notification for the implementation of the reservation in educational institutions.
On May 2, the Nagpur bench of the high court, while hearing a petition, had disallowed the quota for admissions to postgraduate medical courses on the grounds that the “reservation cannot be applicable with retrospective effect”. Admission process for postgraduate medical courses had already begun before the Maratha quota was cleared, the court had argued. The government approached the Supreme Court against the HC order. On May 9, the SC had upheld the HC verdict, slamming the government for “messing up the admission process”.