Pro-Maratha quota activists have imposed a statewide bandh in Maharashtra on Saturday (October 10). The reservationists are demanding restoration of quota for their community in jobs and education.
The Supreme Court on September 9 stayed the implementation of the law granting reservation to Marathas and referred the matter to a larger constitutional bench. The state government has not shown any “extraordinary situation” which warrants the reservation, the court said.
Various outfits have been pressuring the Shiv Sena-led alliance government to demand removal of SC’s stay on the law. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had told protesters earlier that his government would move the Supreme Court again on the issue of reservation.
The government’s decision to bring Marathas under the 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) also did not go down well with the community and community leaders staged protests outside residences of members of Parliament (MPs) and legislators.
“We have turned down the government’s decision to bring us under the EWS quota as it does not serve any purpose. Our demand is that the state government should immediately safeguard the interest of our youths who have secured admissions or government jobs under SEBC reservation stayed by the top court,” said Maratha Mahasangh leader Rajendra Kondhare.
“Secondly, the schemes which are being shown as earmarked for the community are old ones and meant for other communities too. The state government can add 12% more seats in admissions to secure the quota for students from the community,” Kondhare said.
Amid protest against the state government for failing to present the case before the apex court, Ashok Chavan, who heads a state cabinet sub-committee on the Maratha reservation, said that it was fighting a legal battle and Maratha outfits should appreciate its efforts.
The Supreme Court on Sept 9 referred the petitions challenging Maharashtra’s 2018 law – the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, which granted 16% quota to the Maratha community — to a larger constitutional bench. The court stayed the law’s implementation.
The Bombay High Court had upheld the law in June 2019, but it reduced the quota to 12% in education and 13% in jobs.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has said that 1,300 posts out of the total 12,500 would be reserved for the Maratha community.