Legal Challenge Over Maratha Reservation As PIL Questions Maharashtra Commission Appointments

Legal Challenge Over Maratha Reservation As PIL Questions Maharashtra Commission Appointments

The Foundation’s plea has sought to stay on the recommendations made by the commission

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 06:53 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the appointment of Justice (retired) SB Shukre and other members of the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes (MSCBC). 

The PIL, filed by OBC Welfare Foundation, was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyay and Justice Arif Doctor on Tuesday which kept the plea for hearing after two weeks. 

The commission recently submitted a report to the Maharashtra government outlining the backwardness of the Maratha community. Based on the report, the cabinet on Tuesday approved this recommendation, and a bill for 10% reservation for Marathas was tabled and approved in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. This paved the way for legislation on reservations for the Marathas. 

Foundation seeks to stay commission's recommendations

The Foundation’s plea has sought to stay on the recommendations made by the commission. Advocate Ashish Mishra, appearing for the foundation, argued that the appointment of the Chairman and members of the MSCBC did not follow the proper procedure. It alleges that the earlier members were pressured to resign as they refused to conduct a survey of the Maratha community under political influence.

Further, the PIL claims that there is a conflict of interest stating that Justice Shukre, the Chairman of the MSCBC, was appointed by the State Government to negotiate with the fasting Maratha leader Manoj Jarange-Patil. Under his pressure, the government is making its third attempt in a decade to introduce legislation for quota benefits for the Maratha community. 

During the negotiation with Maratha activist, Justice Shukre assured the provision of reservation and that all newly appointed members of the MSCBC are Maratha, the plea adds. 

The Commission’s appointments lacked due process, the plea alleged and raised concerns about its objectivity, suggesting that it may be influenced by political considerations. 

During the hearing on Tuesday, State Advocate General Birendra Saraf pointed out that they have not been given a copy of the PIL. The high court directed the petitioner to serve a copy of the petition to the Advocate General, and the matter has been scheduled for a hearing after two weeks.

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