Maratha Quota Row: PIL Filed In Bombay HC Challenging Issuance Of Kunbi Certificates To Marathas

Maratha Quota Row: PIL Filed In Bombay HC Challenging Issuance Of Kunbi Certificates To Marathas

The plea challenges the five government resolutions (GR) issued from 2004 permitting the Marathas to seek Kunbi certificates.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 06:06 PM IST
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Bombay HC | File

A public interest litigation has been filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the maharashtra government’s decision to grant Kunbi certificates to the Maratha community in the state, while agreeing to demands of the Maratha activist Manoj Jarange-Patil.

The PIL filed on Tuesday by one Mangesh Sasane, Chairman of 'OBC Welfare Foundation', states that the government’s decision of granting Kunbi certificates to the Maratha community would "eat into" the reservation of the Other Backward Classes (OBC).

What is the litigation about and what all does it challenge?

The plea challenges the five government resolutions (GR) issued from 2004 permitting the Marathas to seek Kunbi certificates. It has also challenged the constitution of the Justice (retired) Sandeep Shinde committee, formed to study the procedure of giving Kunbi (OBC) certificate to Marathas and the report the panel submitted to the government.

The gazette notification issued by the state social justice department on January 26 night sought to amend the Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Denotified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes & Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Rules, 2012. These rules prescribe norms and regulations for issuance and verification of caste certificates to people belonging to various categories.

The petitioner claimed that earlier, the process of granting Kunbi certificate to the Maratha community was difficult but now with every agitation, a new decision is issued and the process is being eased. This is done just to ensure that every Maratha person gets a Kunbi certificate “through backdoor entry”, it adds.

The PIL pointed out that the Supreme Court, in 2021, had struck down the Maratha reservation in education and public employment granted through the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018. "Now the government by including Marathas in OBC is eating into the share of the OBC," it claimed.

The plea read, “The list of castes included in the OBC classes has time and again undergone a lot of changes without giving any justification, much less any data for the same. It therefore shows that the list is more of a convenience and that the communities included in the Maratha-Kunbi/Kunbi-Maratha are not in far-flung and remote areas and/or being out of the mainstream of national life and there are conditions peculiar to them and/or there are no exceptional or extraordinary condition that can be attributed to them.”

PIL likely to come up for hearing on February 6

Earlier the process of granting Kunbi certificate to Marathas was difficult but with every agitation the process was made easier. This was just to felicitate the Marathas, claimed advocate Ashish Mishra, who is appearing for Sasane. The government by permitting the Maratha community to get Kunbi certificates and enjoy reservation benefits is nothing but giving them a backdoor entry, Mishra alleged.

According to the high court website, the PIL is likely to come up for hearing on February 6.

Jarange-Patil's march and subsequent events

On January 20, Jarange-Patil began a march to Mumbai from Antarwali Sarathi, demanding issuance of Kunbi certificates to all Marathas that would entitle them to benefits under the quota earmarked for the OBCs. These would be applicable for reservations in government jobs and education.

When he reached Vashi in Navi Mumbai, chief minister Eknath Shinde met him on January 27 and handed him a copy of the draft notification, promising to fulfill his demands in writing. The activist then ended his march to Mumbai.

The government has invited suggestions and objections to the notification until February 16.

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