The Supreme Court’s observation that reservation in jobs and education for the Maratha community cannot be made operational with retrospective effect from 2014 comes a day after the state issued a Government Resolution (GR) to complete the process of recruitment that it had started as per the Educationally and Socially Backward Classes (ESBC) Act, 2014.
Through the GR dated July 11, the Devendra Fadnavis government had been hoping to absorb those Maratha candidates into service whose applications had been stuck after the Bombay High Court on November 14, 2014 stayed the 16 per cent quota that then Congress-NCP government had granted to the community through an ordinance issued on July 9, 2014.
Government officials are confident that the SC directive would not have any bearing on the implementation of the new GR. “Today’s statement by the SC will not have any bearing on the GR that was issued yesterday. Yesterday’s GR was issued to safeguard the rights of individuals who had applied when the earlier ordinance was in effect,” Secretary (General Administration) Shivaji Daund said.
Between July to November 2014, the government had undertaken a recruitment process. While nearly 3,000 Marathas were on the merit list, they did not get letters of appointment after the HC’s intervention.
After commissioning a fresh survey to establish the social and educational backwardness of the community, the government had cleared a fresh legislation in November 2018. The Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018 was upheld by the HC in June this year, but the quota in jobs was limited to 13 per cent.
The government through its GR issued on Thursday wanted to absorb those applicants — who were on the merit list but did not get letters of appointment in 2014 — under the 13 per cent quota.
The GR stated that the new legislation contained provisions clearly enlisting that the selection process, recruitments carried out or in process, and advertisements for the reserved seats brought out as per the old legislation would remain protected. “Since the HC has now upheld the legal validity of the new legislation, these provisions are also legally valid. Accordingly, the process of recruitment carried out under the old act has been protected,” it mentioned.
It ruled that the reservation benefits extended to the community between July 9, 2014 and November 11, 2014 will continue to be in force. Additionally, it ruled that jobs given to persons from the open category on the now reserved posts following the court’s stay orders in 2014 and 2015 would be withdrawn.
“The Act is not being implemented with retrospective effect. Only those who had applied during the time when the earlier ordinance was in force till the HC struck it down will be accommodated,” state Higher Education Minister Vinod Tawde said.
Meanwhile, the PWD on Friday became the first state department to extend the facility of reservation under the SEBC category after the HC judgment. A total of 34 Maratha candidates were appointed as junior engineers under the quota.
The department had held recruitment process for 405 positions. While 300 applicants were selected, 34 were from the SEBC category.