Caste-based quota: Maharashtra passes resolution urging Centre to remove 50% ceiling

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Legislature on Monday passed a resolution recommending the Centre to amend the Constitution to remove the 50% ceiling on caste-based reservations set earlier by the Supreme Court. This is necessary as it is a major hurdle in granting 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs to the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) category comprising the Maratha community which constitutes 33% of the state population.

The resolution was moved by Public Work Minister Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet sub-committee on Maratha quota, in the state assembly where it was passed by voice vote in the absence of the Opposition which had walked out earlier.

The resolution, which was moved by Chavan in the state council, was also passed by voice vote amid slogan shouting by the Opposition.

As per the resolution, without relaxing the 50% limit on caste-based reservations, the quota for SEBC cannot be granted.

The government’s move came days after the Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by the Centre’s plea seeking review of the May 5 majority verdict which held that 102nd Constitution amendment took away the States’ power to declare SEBC for grant of quota in jobs and admissions.

The apex court on May 5 struck down the Maharashtra government's 2018 law granting reservation to the Maratha community in admissions and government jobs while hearing a batch of petitions that challenged the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018. The SC had said it would breach the ceiling of 50% quota limit imposed by itself in a landmark verdict in 1992.

Members of the Maratha community have been staging protests across Maharashtra demanding that the SEBC reservation be restored.

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