Maharashtra Govt Says Shukre Commission Bears Out Drastic Regression Of Maratha Community In Last 5 Years

Maharashtra Govt Says Shukre Commission Bears Out Drastic Regression Of Maratha Community In Last 5 Years

Maharashtra government said that the survey conducted was the “most detailed and exhaustive study on the social and educational backwardness” of the community.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, June 13, 2024, 03:44 PM IST
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Maharashtra Govt Says Shukre Commission Bears Out Drastic Regression Of Maratha Community In Last 5 Years |

Justifying the 10% reservation granted to the Maratha community based on the report submitted by Maharashtra State Commission For Backward Classes under the chairmanship of Justice Sunil Shukre (retired), the Maharashtra government has said that the survey conducted was the “most detailed and exhaustive study on the social and educational backwardness” of the community. 

The government has filed an additional affidavit opposing a batch of petitions challenging the reservation emphasising that the review of the Commission’s report is not permissible. It also highlights that the Commission’s report “bears out the drastic regression of the Maratha community in the last 5 years”. 

The law was passed on February 20 by the Maharashtra legislature granting 10% reservation to the community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category in government jobs and education. The Governor’s notification was issued on February 26. Following this, a batch of petitions opposing the reservation and a few petitions have also been filed supporting it.

The affidavit denies that the percentage of the Maratha population in the state, 27.99% as per the Commision, was inflated. The earlier Rane Commission and Gaikwad Commission had pegged the community’s population at 32.14% and 30% respectively. 

Refuting  the “unsubstantiated and unfounded allegations of bias” against the Commission, the affidavit by joint secretary, General Administration Department, Khalid Arab read, “In assailing the conclusions of the Commission, the Petitioner has sought to dissect and distort the findings made by the Commission, by selectively highlighting and misrepresenting the data material collected, with a view to support its own case.”

It further adds that the contours of judicial review of the report of an expert statutory body such as the Commission are extremely narrow / limited. Also, the “recommendations of the Commission are ordinarily binding both judicially and statutorily upon the state, the affidavit adds. 

Govt refutes petitioners’ allegations

The government has also refuted the petitioners’ allegations that the Commission prepared the report after a survey of 11 days. “The 11 days of survey (facilitated by massive deployment of personnel and resources by this Respondent, assistance of institutions and the use of advanced software) were preceded and followed by extensive preparation, study and work by the Commission,” it states. 

Denying that nine out of 10 members in the Commission were from the Maratha community, the affidavit asserts that only three members were from the community. 

“The data collected by the Commission bears out that the Maratha community is a socially and educationally backward class, which is not adequately represented in public services, and which, in view of exceptional and extraordinary situations that saw them excluded from the mainstream of national life, requires separate reservation for its upliftment,” the affidavit emphasised. 

Seeking dismissal of the petitions, the government has stated that the petitioner has “cherry-picked the data” and has “misrepresented scale and scope of data”. Further the petitioner has ignored the socio-economic statistics and relied on temporal data selection. 

While challenging the findings of the Commission on educational backwardness the Petitioners have “deliberately reflected the data only from urban areas where the members of the Maratha community have better access to the resources and completely ignored rural areas where the majority of Maratha population resides and is struggling with access to basic education”. 

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