Maratha reservation: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray-led delegation meets Guv Koshyari, submits letter addressed to Prez Kovind; here's the full text
Maratha reservation: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray-led delegation meets Guv Koshyari, submits letter addressed to Prez Kovind; here's the full text

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led delegation on Tuesday met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and handed over a letter addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind requesting the Central government to take steps to provide reservation for the Maratha community.

The delegation included Ashok Chavan, Ajit Pawar, Balasaheb Thorat, Eknath Shinde, Jayant Patil, Dilip Walse Patil, and Nana Patole.

Koshyari, meanwhile, has assured to forward the letter, said Thackeray at a press conference outside the Raj Bhavan.

The Chief Minister also said he will lead a delegation to meet Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi and submit a letter requesting the same.

"Following the Supreme Court's decision of rejecting the Maratha reservation, we all decided to make a request to the Center in this regard, and accordingly, we have met the Governor today and have taken the first step," said Thackeray. "The Governor has also listened to us and will convey our sentiments to the Centre," he added.

Here is the full text of Uddhav Thackeray's letter to President Ram Nath Kovind:

The Judgement delivered by the Constitution Bench (comprising of five Hon'ble Judges) of the Hon'ble Supreme Court on 5th May, 2021 in Civil Appeal No. 3123 of 2020 and other connected matters, has given me this occasion to write to you with the earnest request that appropriate steps be taken at the earliest to grant reservation to the Maratha community from my State, albeit in accordance with law, to the minimum extent of 12% in Education and 13% in Public Employment.

I am giving hereunder only a bird's eye view of the background for placing this request with you. I will, however, send a detailed self-explanatory representation for your favourable consideration very soon.

You are aware that there has been a long-standing demand in my State for providing reservation to the Maratha community, both in Education and Public Employment. The Maratha community has been agitating for reservation under the Constitution. The same reached its peak in the year 2017-2018.

Initially, the Government issued an Ordinance No. XIII of 2014 on 9th July, 2014, providing 16% reservation in favour of the Maratha community. However, on 14th November, 2014, the Hon'ble Bombay High Court granted stay to its operation, which was later on confirmed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

The aforesaid Ordinance was converted into Act 1 of 2015 by the State Legislature on 23rd December, 2014, to which HE Governor granted assent on 9th January, 2015. The Act 1 of 2015 came into force in our State with effect from 9th July, 2014. Unfortunately, the Hon'ble Bombay High Court stayed even the aforesaid Statute on 7th April, 2015.

You are aware that on 14th August, 2018, National Commission for Backward Class Act, 1993 was repealed and on 15th August, 2018 Constitutional amendment was effected by inserting into our Cons 2/5 Articles 338B, 342A, and 366(26C). By the very same amendment, Arucie 338 (10) was also appropriately amended.

It has been always the contention of various States in our country, including my State, that the aforesaid 102nd Constitutional Amendment did not take away the power, authority and jurisdiction of the respective State Governments to identify the "Socially and Educationally Backward Classes" (SEBC) and consequently, to enact laws for providing reservation.

The Backward Class Commission constituted for the State of Maharashtra, conducted a rigorous exercise and submitted a detailed report to the State Government on 15th November, 2018, recommending that the Maratha community, in our State, be granted reservation both in Education and Public Employment.

In view of the aforesaid report, and other relevant aspects of the matter, both the Houses of the Legislature of my State, unanimously enacted the Maharashtra State Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) (Admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for posts for appointments in public service and posts) Reservation Act, 2018, (the Act), which was published in the Gazette on 30th of November, 2018. By the Act,16% reservation was provided in favour of the Maratha community, in my State, both in Education and Public Employment.

The Hon'ble Bombay High Court vide its Judgment and Order dated 27th June, 2019, upheld the validity of the Act, though, it held that the reservation in favour of the Maratha community, instead of 16%, ought to be brought down to 12% in Education and 13% in Public Employment respectively. Both the Houses of our State Legislature unanimously amended the Act suitably, by providing reservation to the extent of 12% and 13% in Education and Public Employment respectively, instead of 16%, as was originally envisaged.

Special Leave Petitions were filed with the Hon'ble Supreme Court, impugning the aforesaid decision of the Hon'ble Bombay High Court. Some other proceedings were also initiated with the Hon'ble Supreme Court, relating to the very same subject, including a Writ Petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution, challenging the constitutional validity of 102nd Constitutional Amendment.

The Hon'ble Three Judges Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court initially passed an Order on 12th July, 2019, in the aforesaid proceedings, making the action taken in terms of the Act, subject to the result of the Special Leave Petitions. Subsequently, on 9th September, 2020, the Hon'ble Supreme Court granted a stay and referred the matters to a larger bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court as the Appeals involved substantial questions relating to the interpretation of 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2018. Accordingly, a bench of five Hon'ble Judges was constituted to hear the matters, which has delivered a detailed Judgement of 569 pages on 5th May, 2021.

In as much as the Constitutional validity of the aforesaid 102nd Constitutional Amendment is concerned, the same has been unanimously upheld. However, in as much as the interpretation and the consequent effect of the aforesaid 102nd Constitutional Amendment is concerned, there is a split verdict of 3:2. The majority has held that, in view of the aforesaid 102nd Constitutional Amendment, all the States are denuded of their power, authority and jurisdiction to identify any community that falls in the category of SEBC. Consequently, my State has been held to have been denuded of the power, authority and jurisdiction to identify Maratha community as a SEBC with effect from 15th August, 2018, the day on which the aforesaid 102nd Constitutional Amendment was brought in force.

Resultantly, the aforesaid Statute, passed unanimously by both the Houses of the State Legislature of my State, on 30th of November, 2018, i.e., after the 102nd Constitutional Amendment, has been held unsustainable. In terms of the aforesaid majority view of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, on and from 15th August, 2018, the day on which the 102nd Constitutional Amendment has been brought into force, the President alone (i.e. the Central Government) under Article 342(1), by reason of Article 367 read with Section 3(8) (b) of General Clauses Act, has jurisdiction, authority and power to identify and declare Maratha community of my State to be a SEBC. Also, it is held that an appropriate exercise in this regard is to be conducted by the National Commission for Backward Class, in consultation with our State.

There is no doubt that our State is of the view that despite 102nd Constitutional Amendment, our State continues to have power, authority and jurisdiction to identify Maratha community as the SEBC. However, at this stage, such understanding of my State pales into insignificance, in view of the aforesaid authoritative pronouncement of law made by the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

As a consequence of the aforesaid majority view of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, it is the President, i.e., the Union Government alone, which can identify and notify the Maratha community of my State as SEBC, enabling it to enjoy reservations in Education and Public Employment.

This is therefore, to earnestly request you that appropriate steps be taken, albeit in accordance with law, declared by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, to identify and declare Maratha community of my State as SEBC to enable them to claim the reservation in Education and Public Employment, at least to the extent of 12% and 13% respectively.

I would like to assure you that my State will endeavor to strengthen the hands of the Union Government in undertaking such exercise.

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