Maratha Quota: Does Supreme Court verdict put Maharashtra govt in a fix?

Maratha Quota: Does Supreme Court verdict put Maharashtra govt in a fix?

The Shiv Sena-BJP ruling coalition in Maharashtra is finding itself in a bind following the Supreme Court's rejection of the legislation giving reservation for the Maratha community.

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Saturday, April 22, 2023, 08:18 AM IST
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The Shiv Sena-BJP ruling coalition in Maharashtra is finding itself in a bind following the Supreme Court's rejection of the legislation giving reservation for the Maratha community.

The apex court refused to countenance any breach of the 50% cap on reservations.

Maharashtra govt plan to move curative plea

The State Government is planning to move a curative petition, but the chances of it succeeding are next to nil. In fact the state government's Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act of 2018 was doomed to failure because it violated the two fundamental constitutional principles, one being the 50% cap and the other being the 102nd amendment to the Constitution which has effectively taken away the power of the states to identity socially and educationally backward classes in their respectively jurisdiction. But then the pressure was growing on the State Government from the powerful Maratha community to grant it reservation in matters of job and education.

The legislation was, really speaking, enacted to ease the pressure on the government and to put the onus on the apex court.

Maharashtra govt to struggle to convey the matter to community

With the SC closing the door on the issue, the ruling coalition will have a very tough time convincing the Marathas why they cannot enjoy the benefits of reservation. The community, specially the younger generation, is increasingly asking why their ilk could not progress substantially despite the state having several Marathas as chief minister, including YB Chavan, SB Chavan, Sharad Pawar, Vilasrao Deskhmukh, Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, etc. Incidentally, this question is being posed by non-Maratha leaders also.

The fact of Maratha domination of state politics and the powerful sugar cooperative factories gave a false impression that the community is economically advanced. The benefits of politics and control over sugar cooperatives have been cornered by the creamy layer of the community leaving the rest of the community to fend for itself.

Trust deficit in Maratha leadership

Now, there is a huge trust deficit as far as the Maratha leadership is concerned. The private educational sector was also monopolised by Maratha leaders like DY Patil, Patangrao Kadam, Datta Megha, etc, but that also hardly helped the community. The Marathas are also irked by the fact that a large number of atrocities cases have been filed against them by the Dalits in rural areas, which they claim is out of vengeance.

Be it as it may, the ground reality is that the Marathas are today seething with anger post the SC verdict. It remains to be seen what impact it will have on the elections to the assembly and the Lok Sabha scheduled for 2024.

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