THE BOMBAY High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government why it had issued an advertisement for job recruitment under the new legislation providing reservation to Maratha community even as petitions challenging the same were to be heard by the court.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice M S Karnik was hearing at least five petitions and several intervention applications, both supporting and contesting the state’s decision to grant reservation to the Maratha community.
One of the petitions was filed by advocate Jishri Patil, seeking to quash and set aside the notification published by the Maharashtra government on November 30 to provide 16 per cent reservation to the community, which the plea claimed amounts to a breach of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings.
Patil’s lawyer, Gunaratan Sadavarte, informed court that the Maharashtra Public Service Commission has published an advertisement inviting applications for jobs from the Maratha community. Senior counsel V A Thorat, appearing for the government, said only applications have been invited and that the final examination for the jobs will be held in June 2019.
Chief Justice Patil, however, asked Thorat: “You know that we were going to hear the case today (Monday), then why was this ad published… you should have at least waited for a day.”
He added that it is a “serious matter” affecting millions of people, both for and against the reservation. The state government should give courts some breathing space to hear the petitions, said Chief Justice Patil.
He further said that if the advertisement is published, then within a minute, thousands of job applications will be filed online. “We are facing huge unemployment and so this problem should be addressed… it is a serious issue… people who are in the reserved category will expect jobs,” Chief Justice Patil said.
Advocate Pradeep Sancheti, appearing for a petitioner, sought a stay on the operation of the notification on Maratha reservation. He questioned why only Maratha community was considered for reservation. Senior lawyer Shrihari Aney, appearing for another petitioner, sought a direction to the state government that they be given a copy of the SEBC, which held the Marathas socially and economically backward.
The bench directed Thorat to take instructions from the government on whether the state would recruit people under the quota pending hearing of the petitions. It also sought to know if the SEBC report can be given to the petitioner.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on December 19.