Other States

High Court puts reservation for Marathas on hold

The Bombay High Court on Friday upheld the move of the erstwhile Congress-NCP government to provide 5 p.c. quota for Muslims in educational institutions of the State, while putting on hold reservation for them in jobs.

The court was passing an interim order on a bunch of PIL pleas. However, it put on hold 16 p.c. quota for Marathas in government jobs and education.

Statute does not allow quota on religious grounds

The Bombay High Court’s interim order on quota for Muslims is significant as there have been several instances when courts across the country held it against law, as the Constitution does not provide for reservation on religious grounds.

The new government, led by Devendra Fadnavis, has said that it would knock on the doors of the Supreme Court against the High Court decision on quota for Marathas. However, there was no word on the court stay on reservation for Muslims in jobs.

Mr. Chavan’s government in June had approved the quotas for the Marathas and the Muslims. However, when it was challenged in the High Court it took the Ordinance route to enforce it with immediate effect.

Reservation for Marathas as well as Muslims has been a bone of contention in the State for several years on the ground that the former do not fall under the category of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and the latter are not entitled to quota, as it was against the Constitution.

The move of the Chavan government became a matter of controversy as it came barely two-and-a-half months before the Assembly elections, exposing it to criticism that it was a political stunt with an eye on vote-banks.

Then Governor K. Sankaranarayanan had given his assent to the Ordinance in the second week of July. The Assembly election was announced in the second week of September and polling took place on October 15.

In its interim order, the High Court Bench, headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah, said: “The reservation in Maharashtra has already crossed 50 per cent.”

The Supreme Court has mandated that the total percentage of reservation cannot exceed 50.

“The Maratha community is a resourceful community. There are no elements of backwardness. The Rane Committee report suffers from infirmities and is hence defective and can’t be relied upon,” the court order said.

It posted the case for further hearing in January.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 6:32:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/high-court-puts-reservation-for-marathas-on-hold/article6600810.ece

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