CHIEF Minister Devendra Fadnavis said Wednesday a committee of academicians and experts representing the Maratha community would be formed to look into various constitutional and legal issues pertaining to Maratha reservation. He also assured the representatives of Maratha Kranti Morcha that evidence collected in the Kopardi rape-murder case were strong enough to ensure death penalty for the accused.
A delegation of leaders and young girls from the community met the CM and Education Minister Vinod Tawde Wednesday at the conclusion of the statewide processions they had been organising for the last over a month.
After hearing them out, the CM took up their demands one by one. On the Kopardi rape-murder case, Fadnavis said, “We have appointed Ujjwal Nikam to fight the case on the state government’s behalf. I am sure with the kind of evidence that we have collected against the accused, death penalty will be handed down to them.”
On the demand to prevent misuse of the Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act, the CM said, “We are constituting a committee to study how we can do that.” He added, “Even the Dalit community has similar sentiments.”
On reservation, the core demand of the Marathas, the CM reiterated his government’s position: “Let there be no doubt that the government is solidly pushing for quota for the community. Within 15 days of coming to power, we passed an Act to the effect. The High Court, however, didn’t find it tenable. So we have moved the Supreme Court where a battery of top lawyers led by Harish Salve is fighting the case hard to support the government. We have submitted over 2,700 pages of documents that also contain some very effective evidence in favour of quota for Marathas. We are hopeful of sailing through there.”
One of the girls in the group then asked: “If you can announce demonetisation overnight, why can’t you announce reservation for Marathas?” The CM replied: “This is a constitutional matter and we need to keep our emotions aside and make out a strong legal case to achieve.”
Tawde suggested, “What we can do is invite prominent persons from the community like High Court judges and others to discuss the issues and formulate good response.” The CM immediately welcomed the suggestion and announced decision to form the committee.