Representative Image
Representative Image

Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government, on Friday, made a fresh appeal to the Centre to support its stand on the restoration of 12 per cent quota in education and 13 per cent in government jobs for the Maratha community during the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for January 25. The state government’s request comes in the backdrop of the widening rift between the Centre and itself on delays in the clearance of GST dues, lack of timely assistance for natural calamities and the ownership claim on Kanjurmarg land that had been proposed for the Metro 3 carshed.

The state government has sought the Centre’s pro-active role during arguments when there is growing disenchantment among pro-Maratha organisations against the MVA government. It has also urged the BJP, which frequently issues deadlines for the MVA government fall, to use its influence to ensure that appropriate steps are taken by the Centre to maintain the SEBC reservation.

Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan, head of the cabinet sub-committee on Maratha reservation, has appealed to the Centre to take a positive stand in the Supreme Court on constitutional and judicial issues relating to the 50 per cent reservation limit envisaged in the Indra Sahni case and the effect of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment on the rights of state governments. Chavan has thereby reminded that the apex court had given interim stay in September 2020 on reservation provided to the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, crossing the 50 per cent limit while in other states, quota provided beyond the 50 per cent limit in other states continue.

Therefore, Chavan wants the Centre’s help to jointly argue constitutional and judicial issues, as currently the quota in Maharashtra has been stayed while the apex court has yet to decide cases pertaining to other states that have crossed the 50 per cent limit. In the case of Maratha quota, the state government has argued that it has been cleared by the State Backward Classes Commission and has been granted by carving out an SEBC category.

Chavan has argued that it is necessary to review the 30-year-old Indra Sahni judgment, as it was given by nine judges. He cited that reservations in Tamil Nadu have gone up to 69 per cent. Further, the apex court had yet to decide cases pertaining to the 10 per cent reservation granted by the Centre for the Economically Backward Classes (EBC). The apex court has not stayed both.

“The constitutional impasse in the SEBC reservation case can only be resolved at the level of the Central Government. Therefore, the Central Government needs to take a clear stand in this regard and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will soon write a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard.” Similarly, MPs from Maharashtra should also meet the Prime Minister, said Chavan.

Chavan reminded that the Constitution Bench had issued notice to the Attorney General during the last hearing and therefore, the Centre has got an opportunity to clarify its cooperative role regarding Maratha reservation. Therefore, it was necessary to review the 30-year-old Indra Sahni judgment, as it was given by 9 judges, Chavan explained the need to set up a bench of nine or more members to review it.

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