Do not terminate appointments of open caste employees: Bombay High Court to State

Mumbai: In a temporary reprieve to over 2500 employees of the Maharashtra government, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the state not to terminate their services.

These employees are basically from open caste and were appointed on a temporary basis under the 16 per cent posts, initially reserved for Maratha community.

A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre directed the government to refrain from terminating the services of these open caste employees, who have been appointed under the quota reserved for Marathas from 2015 till June 2019.

This comes after four government employees from Kolhapur petitioned the bench challenging its resolution issued on July 11. By virtue of this notification, the government had resolved to terminate the services of these open caste employees to make way for the recruitment of members from the Maratha community.

The petitioners led by Sunita Nagane, an employee of the Maharashtra Zila Parishad District Services, has urged the bench, through their counsel Ramesh Bade, to quash and set aside the resolution notified on July 11.

According to these employees, this resolution, which provides an implementation of the Maratha quota from a ‘retrospective effect’ would adversely affect the open caste persons, who are already appointed under these posts.

The government had been appointing such open caste persons against the posts reserved for Marathas, by following the directives of the then Chief Justice of the HC, who had in 2015, struck down the government proposal to grant 16 per cent reservation to the community.

The then CJ Mohit Shah, now retired, had directed the government not to let these 16 per cent posts lie vacant. CJ Shah had asked the government to appoint persons from the open caste on a temporary basis.

The government has since then been renewing the tenures of these open caste employees.

However, the government has now decided to terminate their services after relying upon the verdict of another bench of the HC led by Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre, which upheld the quota to Marathas. The bench has, however, reduced the 16 per cent quota to 12 per cent in public service and 13 per cent in education.

Soon after this verdict delivered on June 27, 2019, the government on July 11 notified that it would implement this ruling from a retrospective effect i.e. from 2015 onwards.

On Tuesday, when the matter was taken up for hearing, the bench of Justices More and Dangre, which is dealing with the plea of these open caste employees, directed the government not to terminate their services at least for three weeks.

The bench said it would be hearing the matter and accordingly directed Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to appear before it on the next date of hearing.