The Bombay High Court will pronounce its judgment on June 27 on a clutch of petitions challenging Maharashtra government s decision to provide 16 per cent reservations under Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act to Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions.
In the wake of statewide protests by the Marathas, the Devendra Fadnavis government had on November 30 last year cleared a 16 per cent quota for the community in education and government jobs, identifying them as a Socially and Economically Backward Class. Later, on March 8, the government had issued a notification to implement the reservation in educational institutions.
The government had projected it as a major achievement in the build-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state. The politically influential Maratha community accounts for 33 per cent of the state s population.
On February 6, a pision bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre commenced hearing in all the petitions. In April this year, the court closed the petitions for the verdict.
The petitions have claimed the new law was in violation of the Supreme Court s previous orders mandating that caste and community-based reservation in states should not exceed 50 per cent.
The government, while defending its decision, had said reservation was only to bring up the Maratha community which was neglected since long.
The petitioners argued that the government had destroyed the concept of equality by setting up a special category – Socially and Educationally Backward Class – for the Maratha community.
They also claimed that as per the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission report, Marathas and Kunbis are one and the same caste and hence, should be included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.