Interim relief for general category staff recruited under Maratha quota

Mumbai: In a respite for thousands of state employees, the Bombay High Court on Friday stayed a circular which notified termination of services of the general category employees, who were recruited under the Maratha category, on a temporary basis.

A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Makarand Karnik stayed the notification for an interim period. The bench has ordered the Maharashtra government to maintain a “status quo” on the issue until further orders.

The bench said it would be hearing the matter in detail on December 5 and accordingly adjourned it till then. The bench was seized with a bunch of petitions filed by employees aggrieved by the notification issued by the government in July, this year.

These are the employees, who were recruited by the government way back in 2014 to fill the posts, which were initially reserved for the Maratha community members under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category.

At the time of recruitment, the government had clarified that these recruitments would subject to the outcome of the litigation wherein the validation of Maratha quota was under challenge.

Their services were also extended time-to-time from 2015 till June this year, when the bench led by Justice More upheld the quota for Marathas in public service and education.

In its detailed judgment, the bench headed by Justice More had upheld the government decision and also the conclusion of the state backward commission that the Marathas are socially and educationally backward.

The bench had, however, reduced the quota from 16 per cent to 12 per cent in public service and 13 per cent in education. Subsequently, the government issued this circular notifying termination of services of these employees.

In this impugned circular, the government has stated that the 2000 posts, which were filled in with general category persons would now have to be vacated so as to accommodate the Maratha community members.

Over 20 such employees have dragged the government to the HC claiming it has acted arbitrarily. The employees have also highlighted the fact that the HC verdict has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the same is likely to adjudicate the issue. The matter would now be heard next on December 5.