Photo by BL SONI
Photo by BL SONI

New Delhi: Maharashtra government filed a caveat in the Supreme Court on Friday to ensure that it does not go unheard in case anyone challenges the Bombay High Court order upholding the reservation to Maratha community in the state.

The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld the validity of quota granted to the Maratha community under socially and educationally backward class (SEBC) in educational institutions and government jobs in the state, which marked the breach of 50 per cent cap set by the apex court. A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharti Dangre, however, did not approve the quota of 16 per cent extended to the community and directed to cap the reservation at 12 per cent in education and 13 per cent for government jobs.

The Maratha Reservation Bill was passed in the Maharashtra Assembly in November last year. Following the decision of the state legislature, several petitions were filed contending that the reservation to the community will raise the reservation in the state from 52 per cent to 68 per cent, which is 18 per cent higher than the ceiling set by the apex court. On this, the high court in its judgement on Thursday said that 50 per cent cap on the reservation can be "extended in exceptional situations".

The high court had also upheld the recommendations made by the Maharashtra Backward Class Commission about the "backwardness" of the community, which the government had considered while extending the quota. The Maratha community makes up a total of 33 per cent of the total population in the state. On February 6, a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Danger of the Bombay High Court heard a clutch of petitions by the State government and those for, and against the reservation given to the Maratha Community.

After a detailed hearing for over two months, the High Court had reserved the order on March 26 on these petitions. On March 8, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led state government issued a notification implementing the reservation in the educational institutions. The Legislative Council of the state had, on June 21, passed an amendment in the SEBC Act, providing 16 per cent reservation to the students of Maratha community in admissions to the post-graduate (PG) dental and medical courses.

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