Maratha Quota Row: Maharashtra Cabinet Approves Draft Bill For 10% Reservation In Govt Jobs, Education

Maratha Quota Row: Maharashtra Cabinet Approves Draft Bill For 10% Reservation In Govt Jobs, Education

Maharashtra government held a special Vidhan Sabha session for one day today, in which 'Maratha reservation' was the key agenda.

Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 06:47 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde | ANI

The Maharashtra State Assembly and Legislative Council unanimously passed the Maratha Reservation Bill 2024 on Tuesday. From now on, Marathas will receive 10 percent reservation in education and government and semi-government sectors in Maharashtra.

The report of the State Backward Class Commission (BCC) mentioned that the Maratha community requires reservation. The bill has not affected the OBC quota and has provided separate reservation for the Maratha community. Although the bill extends the fifty percent cap set by the Supreme Court for reservation, the state government has reasonable grounds to justify it as an exceptional case. However, the government has not made any decision regarding the inclusion of Sage-Soyare (close and distant relatives) due to the submission of around six lakhs suggestions by the public, and the cabinet will decide after scrutinizing those suggestions.

I have fulfilled my promise today: Eknath Shinde

On Tuesday morning, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde called a cabinet meeting and presented the BCC report on the Maratha survey for approval. Around 1 PM, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde tabled the bill in the state assembly for approval. During his speech, he stated, "We have decided to provide 10 percent reservation to the Maratha community in education and government jobs in Maharashtra. I had pledged before the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj during the Dusshera rally that I would provide lawful and sustainable reservation for Marathas without disturbing the existing OBC quota. I have fulfilled my promise today." Moreover, Shinde described the bill as a 'historical decision' and asserted that it will withstand legal scrutiny as all legal aspects have been considered.

CM Shinde noted that similar reservation was provided during the Devendra Fadnavis regime, which was upheld by the Bombay High Court but rejected by the Supreme Court. He mentioned the committee chaired by retired Justice Girish Bhosale, which studied the SC's order and submitted suggestions to the government after holding around 50 meetings. Shinde emphasized the extensive survey conducted with the help of the Gokhale Institute of Pune and IIPS institute, involving 2.5 crore families and 4 lakh government and semi-government employees. He assured that the bill is in accordance with the Indira Sahani case order, which mandates reservation for identified backward communities to integrate them into the mainstream.

Shinde slams Opposition leaders

Shinde criticized opposition leaders, stating, "Opposition party leaders doubted my ability to fulfill my pledge and promised made to Jarange. Despite impending elections and potential challenges with the model code of conduct, I have kept my word. As CM, I must ensure justice for all communities without discrimination or prejudice."

However, Jarange-Patil still advocates for Maratha reservation within the OBC community. "We seek reservation aligned with our needs. Provide us reservation under the OBC category for those who can prove their Kunbi identity, and for those who cannot provide proof, pass a law for Sage-Soyare." Patil called for a meeting of the Maratha Community on Wednesday to address their concerns.

Uddhav Thackeray welcomed the Maratha reservation bill passed by the government and congratulated CM Shinde for delivering justice to the Maratha community. "All members have unanimously passed the resolution. I hope it will withstand legal scrutiny. The Maratha community has struggled for this reservation. It would be interesting to see how many Marathas will benefit from this provision. During Devendra Fadnavis's tenure, the bill was passed but failed in the SC. This time, with the same team, I hope it will endure."

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