ARGUING AGAINST reservation for members of the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions, senior counsel Shrihari Aney said on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that people tend to seek reservations because the state has failed in providing adequate jobs and education.
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 November 30, 2018 notification of the Maharashtra government announcing 16 per cent reservation for Marathas.
Aney, appearing for Dhople, argued that the government has given special treatment to Marathas by creating a special category called the socially and educationally backward class. He added that reservation for Marathas is exclusive in nature and that the demand for reservations is on account of the state’s failures. Senior Counsel Arvind Datar, who appeared for Shukla, argued that the Mandal Commission had in 1980 held that Marathas are not backward. Following that, Other Backward Classes Commission headed by S N Khatri and R M Bapat and the National Backward Classes Commission had also concluded that Marathas are not backward classes, he contended. Datar argued that it is the state’s responsibility to see that a 50 per cent ceiling is not exceeded in reservations.
On Wednesday, Datar had said the Supreme Court, in Indira Sawhney & Others vs Union of India, had held that 50 per cent reservation ceiling cannot be exceeded, except in exceptional cases like in extraordinary situations in far-flung and remote areas and if a special case is made out. Datar said it was “certainly not for Maharashtra, because it is the most prosperous state”.
On Thursday, Datar added that Maharashtra has no peculiar conditions to show that the state must exceed the 50 per cent cap. Datar, while concluding his argument, said if the state’s new law is upheld by the court, other castes may also demand reservations in future. He added that “historically and economically, the Maratha community cannot be said to be a backward class”.