A flawed GR has blocked prospects of many communities seeking quota: Petitioner

Mumbai: Several communities in Maharashtra demand reservation citing their ‘backwardness’ and for this, they ‘blindly trust’ the political parties, which form a government in the state. But these communities are unaware of the ‘politics’ and also have no idea that their demands can never be fulfilled.

At least till some political party rectifies a mistake done by the then Maharashtra government, way back in 1994. This ‘mistake’ is nothing but a ‘flawed’ Government Resolution (GR) which has blocked the prospects of these communities that seek reservations.

In April 1994, the then Sharad Pawar-led government had issued this GR, by which it extended/increased the percentage of reservation granted to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) (including the other sub-castes like VJNT, NT etc) from the existing 14 per cent to 30 per cent.

This move of the then Pawar-led government has been labelled as an ‘overnight reservation theft’ by advocate Abhijit Patil and his client, Rajesh Tekale,who is also a lawyer. According to Patil, the then government has done this theft and blocked the entry of other castes for reservation.

“The constitution has recognised only the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (7 per cent) and the OBC. Later on, some sub-castes were added to the OBC category. And the reservation to these categories cannot be disturbed now,” Patil said.

“Initially, the SC was given 13 per cent reservation while the ST was granted 7 per cent. The OBC with its sub-castes was given a total of 14 per cent quota, however, in April 1994, the then government issued a GR and increased this quota with an additional 16 per cent. Thus, totalling the OBC quota to 30 per cent,” Patil explained.

This GR, according to Patil, is illegal and continues to operate as none has challenged its validity. “The GR is illegal especially in view of the SC ruling in the landmark Indra Sawhney case. In this case, the top court had said no state can give more than 50 per cent quotas to any castes,” Patil said.

In this ruling, the constitutional bench of the top court had specifically said that states cannot give reservation to any community, without conducting a thorough study of the concerned community. “The government in its April 1994 GR has relied upon the Mandal Commission’s report. But this report was the subject matter in the Indra Sawhney case and was not recognised by the top court, thus it does not hold ground,” Patil explained.

“So now, the government itself is clear that it cannot give reservations to any community because of this GR which is nothing but a reservation theft,” Patil added. Further, Patil said, “The government is very much aware that its decision to give quota to Marathas will not stand the 50 per cent rule of the SC. Still, it has proceeded on this footing.”

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