BJP blames Maha govt for SC's decision to strike down Maratha quota

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Pune, May 5 (PTI) The BJP on Wednesday blamed the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government for 'failing' to convince the Supreme Court over the issue of reservation for the Maratha community in jobs and education.

State BJP president Chandrakant Patil demanded that the state government call an all-party meeting and a special session of the Assembly to discuss the issue.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Maharashtra law granting quota to Marathas in admissions and government jobs, terming it as 'unconstitutional', and held there were no exceptional circumstances to breach the 50 per cent reservation cap set by the 1992 Mandal verdict.

'...It is a complete failure of the state government. It failed to convince the SC on why it was important to breach the 50 per cent ceiling on quota in extraordinary circumstances, which has been created in the state with regard to the Maratha community,' Patil told reporters in Pune.

He said the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led state government had formed the Backward Class Commission which recommended to consider the Maratha community as backward on three fronts - social, economic, and educational.

The Fadnavis government then enacted the law (in 2018) giving reservation to the Maratha community in jobs and education, which was later challenged in the Bombay High Court.

'The Fadnavis government had successfully convinced the HC that Marathas account for 32 per cent of the state's population and how it was an extraordinary situation in the state,' he said.

But, the present Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra (comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) has 'completely failed the Maratha community', Patil claimed.

'Youth from the Maratha community should speak up on the issue and mount pressure on the state government,” the BJP leader said.

He demanded that the state government call an all-party meeting over the issue.

'In fact, they should call a special Assembly session on the issue of Maratha quota and the COVID-19 situation in the state,' he said.

Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council Pravin Darekar said the decision has come as a 'complete disappointment' for the Maratha community.

'The law, cleared by both Houses of the state Legislature and upheld by the Bombay High Court, was struck down only because of this state government,” he said.

Vinod Patil, one of the petitioners seeking reservation for Marathas, termed the decision as 'unfortunate'.

'We will decide our next move after going through the order in detail,' he said.

After the SC's order, members of some Maratha organisations staged a protest by wearing black ribbons on their arms in Pune.

'It was necessary on part of the Maharashtra government to explain the state's stand in the court, but it did not happen,' one of the protesters said.

Another protester termed it as a 'black day' for the Marathas, saying youth from the community were hopeful of a decision in their favour. PTI ND SPK GK GK