Representative Image
Representative Image
Photo: Bhushan Koyande

Mumbai: Amid rising unrest among the Maratha community over delays in the restoration of 12% reservation in education and 13% in government jobs due to a court battle, the Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday decided to issue Economically Weaker Section (EWS) certificate to Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) candidates. This will pave the way for SEBC candidates, basically those from the Maratha community, to avail the benefit of EWS reservation for educational admissions and recruitment. It will be optional.

The EWS quota is meant for people with annual family income below ₹8 lakh. The SEBC category was created under an Act passed in 2018 to enable the Maratha community to secure reservation benefits.

It will be beneficial for some SEBC students for those courses where the date of application is open for 2020-21. It will also give some relief to SBC candidates in the forthcoming recruitment but the decision will not help SEBC candidates where the procedure of application is closed or some steps of recruitment are already complete.

Candidates from SEBC will be eligible to avail of EWS Reservation for Open Category or EWS Reservation but they will not be eligible for SEBC Reservation for Academic Admission or Recruitment in Government Service.

However, while submitting EBC certificates at the time of seeking academic admissions or applying for government jobs, SEBC candidates will have to submit papers with regard to income of previous fiscal and property details.

The Cabinet’s decision is yet another attempt to appease the Maratha community which has been up in arms against the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, blaming it for lack of restoration of the quota which was stayed by the Supreme Court in September. Following the state government’s four applications, finally the Constitution Bench heard its plea for vacating the interim stay and has convened the next hearing in February.

Reservation Research Scholar Dr Balasaheb Sarate told Free Press Journal, ‘’The fact remains that why did the state government take this decision so late? The government should have taken the decision immediately after the Supreme Court gave an interim stay on SEBC reservation. There is an apprehension among SEBC members that Wednesday's decision will impinge negatively on the SEBC quota matter pending in the apex court.’’

As reported by the Free Press Journal, the state cabinet on September 23 had decided to provide reservations benefits to the agitated Maratha community under the Central Act ensuring 10% quota for the Economically Backward Section (EBC). However, on September 30 the cabinet had scrapped its decision following strong opposition from the Maratha community as they insisted that the government should make all efforts for the restoration of 12% quota in education and 13% in government jobs under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.

In July, the state government, in the notification, had said that the politically influential Maratha community will not be entitled for 10% reservation under the EBC category in state government jobs. However, they will be entitled to reservation in Central government civil services and posts.

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