Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday to urge him for the passage of a Constitution amendment Bill, which seeks to restore the states' power to identify backward classes, in the ongoing session of Parliament.
Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar later introduced the Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the Lok Sabha and the government is expected to push for its passage in the House on Tuesday amid expressions of support to it from most parties, including the opposition.
Fadnavis also faulted the Maharashtra government's handling of the legal challenge to the state's move to provide reservation to the Marathas, saying it was found wanting in defending the decision in the Supreme Court which had quashed the quota order for the politically and socially powerful caste in the state.
"I requested (Shah) that the bill should be passed in this session. I will urge all political parties, including those who have caused the logjam in Parliament, to support this measure for the OBC welfare and pass the bill unanimously," the BJP leader told reporters in the Parliament complex.
Asked about Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's reported call that the current 50 per cent ceiling on quota be removed so that Marathas can be given reservation, Fadnavis accused the Shiv Sena leader of shying away from his responsibility and said his demand and the bill are two completely unrelated issues.
Once passed by Parliament, the Bill will give states the power to identify a backward community so that it can be provided with reservation benefits, he noted.
The bill was necessitated after the Supreme Court had dismissed the Centre's plea seeking a review of its May 5 majority verdict that held that the 102nd Constitution amendment took away the states' power to notify socially and educationally backward classes for the grant of quota in jobs and admissions.
On May 5, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, had unanimously set aside a Maharashtra law granting quota to Marathas and refused to refer the 1992 Mandal verdict that put a 50-per cent cap on reservation to a larger bench.
The Centre has insisted that it never meant to take away the power of states amid the opposition parties' charge that it had targeted the federal structure by taking away the power of the states to identify and list the OBCs.
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