Maratha Kranti Morcha workers stage protest demanding restoration of quota, near Bandra court on Sunday.
Maratha Kranti Morcha workers stage protest demanding restoration of quota, near Bandra court on Sunday.
BL Soni

Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan, on Wednesday, were engaged in a war of words over the Maratha reservation. Chavan, who heads the cabinet sub-committee on the matter, slammed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for politicising the issue and asked the opposition to cooperate so that it is restored in the state.

Fadnavis accused Chavan of misleading the house and not speaking the truth. He said that he will move a breach of privilege motion against Chavan. “The minister doesn't even know that the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, passed by my government in 2018 was before the 102nd constitutional amendment,” he said.

However, Chavan countered Fadnavis’ statement and said that the SEBC Act of 2018 is a completely new legislation and not an amendment. ''The SEBC Act mentions that, on its commencement, the Maharashtra State Reservation for Educationally and Socially Backward Categories (ESBC) Act, 2014, for the reservation of seats for admission in educational institutions in the state and for appointments or posts in public services shall be repealed,” he noted.

The 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 2018 inserted Articles 338B, which deals with the structure, duties and powers of the National Commission for Backward Class, and 342A, which deals with power of the president to notify a particular caste as Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and the power of the parliament to change the list.

Further, Chavan said that the President of India in consultation with the state governor will specify the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes. The parliament will include or exclude it from the central list of socially and educationally backward classes. ''I haven't given any wrong information regarding the hearing on March 8 and what the central government told the apex court. Those who have seen the online hearing know about it and the media has also reported the details,” he said.

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