Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray with Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray. (Express Photo by Prashant Nadkar)
The Assembly and Legislative Council on Wednesday unanimously ratified the Indian Constitution (126th) Amendment Bill, extending the reservation quota for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for 10 years.
The state convened a special day-long session to ratify the legislation, which had already been passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray moved the Bill in the Assembly, and Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis extended support.
“Maharashtra has always taken the lead in bringing progressive reforms. The extension is justified to provide equal opportunities to the SC/ST. The Bill provides for social equality and it is necessary,” said Thackeray.
Fadnavis said that inclusivity was necessary in Indian democracy. “There has to be adequate representation of socially oppressed segments,” he said. “There are still several communities which are socially and economically backward. They are still deprived of the fruits of development,” the BJP leader added.
The Council too adopted the Bill unanimously, with Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar saying, “Parliament has already discussed the Bill in detail. The state needs to ratify the same.”
Of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, five seats are reserved for SC and four for ST candidates. Of the 288 MLA seats in the Assembly, 29 are reserved for SC while 25 of them are kept aside for ST candidates.