All You Need To Know About The Maratha Quota Debate

Tina Garg
·3-min read

The demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput has proven to be very crippling for the nation. Not only did we lose a talented actor, but the media has also lost its ethics and seems to have forgotten to keep us updated about other important matters. The Maratha quota debate is one such matter that you should know about.

Why Did The Maratha Community Demand Quota?

Marathas constitute one-third of the population of Maharashtra. In the state, they are a politically dominant community and their role in the economy of the state is crucial.

As per the CDCS Survey (The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies) done in 2014, the majority of the Maratha community consists of landless farmers with meagre earnings. It called for the community demanding recognition as OBCs.

After years of demands and major protests in 2017, an 11-member committee was set up by the Maharashtra government. In that, the Maratha community was classified as Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC).

While the committee ruled in the favour of their reservation, it did not decide on the percentage. Finally, in November, a bill was passed which secured 16% of seats in educational institutions and government jobs for Marathas.

Read More: Are The Concepts Of Reservation And Nepotism The Same In Indian Context?

What Is The Latest Debate All About?

As per a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, the total reservation for the backward classes cannot exceed the 50% mark. With a 64-65% reservation, Maharashtra is an exception to this rule.

A petition was filed last year in the High Court against the decision of providing quota to Marathas. Calling the 16% reservation not justifiable, the court reduced the percentage of reserved seats to 12% in educational institutes and 13% in government jobs.

The Bench stated that “In exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations, this limit (50%) can be crossed subject to availability of quantifiable and contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, the inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration”.

The matter was then taken up in the Supreme Court on September 9th 2020 by a three-judge bench. The bench ruled against the reservation, meaning that the Maratha quota is no longer valid in the state.

It has now referred to an eleven-judge bench as to whether the 50% quota rule can have exceptions or not.

How Has The Maratha Community Reacted To This?

The Maratha Kranti Morcha held protests outside the offices of all four major political parties of the state on Sunday. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and former CM Devendra Fadnavis have been approached by Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati, the 13th direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Protests held by the Maratha Community
Protests held by the Maratha Community

The government proposed that Marathas be given benefits reserved for the Economically Weaker Sections of the state (EWS).

However, Sambhajiraje has expressed discontentment saying, “EWS is already caught in a legal tangle in the apex court. Besides, if the reservation is given under EWS, the SC may ask as to why does the Maratha community need reservation separately?

The ruling of the eleven-judge constitutional bench is still awaited. Till then, the Maratha community will get the benefits announced by the state government.

Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: The Indian Express, NDTV, Economic Times + more

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This post is tagged under: Maratha quota, Maratha Kranti Morcha, Reservation, EwS reservation, Who are the Marathas, why do marathas demand for reservation despite being one-third of the state’s population, percentage of seats reserved for marathas, SEBC

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