With the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission concluding that the Maratha community is socio-economically backward, thus clearing its way for quotas in government jobs and education, officials said on Friday that the government has started to consult legal and constitutional experts on how to provide 16 per cent reservation to the community without disturbing the existing OBC quota.
This, after the report — submitted to the government on Thursday — has categorically stated that the existing OBC reservation should not be altered in any manner. “The government should ensure that existing quota of 27 per cent to OBCs does not alter while considering reservation to Marathas who also qualify as socio-economically backward,” the report has stated.
“The state government, which has begun the process of consulting legal and constitutional experts to take forward the Maratha quota issue, is making provisions to provide the community 16 per cent quota independently. The finer details will be decided in the next 15 days,” an official said.
Sources said that since the Marathas would be provided quota on the basis of their socio-economic backwardness, it will have to come under the OBC tag. To do so, the government is likely to create a separate sub-category to provide the community reservation without affecting the current 27 per cent OBC quota.
Since existing reservation to SC, ST, OBC and VJNT (Vimukta Jati and Nomadic tribes) together constitute 49 per cent, the government will have to use the legislation route to accommodate the 16 per cent quota of the Marathas. At present, the reservation limit of the state stands at 52 per cent.
Sources said the committee working on the Maratha quota has been asked to take the position that the government can exercise its jurisdiction to expand the scope of quota in accordance to the ratio of the socio-economically backward population.
“We don’t foresee any problem legally. But if anybody challenges the decision for exceeding 50 per cent quota, we will cite the example of Tamil Nadu. Despite a court stay, Tamil Nadu government has enforced reservation up to 69 per cent,” said a Cabinet minister.