Mumbai: Days after the Supreme Court’s order cancelling the 12 per cent quota in education and 13 per cent in government jobs for the Maratha community, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has not given up on the cause but is actively considering convening of special session of the state legislature and filing a review petition in the apex court.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday said the state government may convene a one-day session of the state legislature to discuss a way out, as the MVA government is committed to restoration of the quota. Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, who is a member of the cabinet subcommittee chaired by Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan, said the government is in the midst of a discussion on exploring the option of filing a review petition in the apex court. He termed the day on which SC struck down the quota a ‘Black Day’, terming the decision shocking, frustrating and unfortunate for the Maratha community.
Pawar, who had termed the SC ruling as unexpected, disappointing and incomprehensible, said the state government had strongly argued the case in the apex court, adding that the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018, was passed unanimously in the state legislature. The high court had upheld the Act, which was challenged in the apex court. However, the government had retained the legal team deployed by the Fadnavis government to argue the case. “The Supreme Court has, however, struck down the Act but has not touched the quota provided by Tamil Nadu and other states in excess of 50 per cent ceiling. The court has said only Parliament and the President can decide on the restoration of Maratha quota,” he noted.
Pawar said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had, in his address to citizens, declared that the MVA government was committed to provide reservation to the Marathas. He however, called upon the opposition not to run a misinformation campaign against the government. “The government will consider convening a one-day session to discuss the fallout of the apex court ruling and move a motion to provide Maratha quota. If not in a special session, the government will move the motion in the monsoon session in July and unanimously recommend that the Centre amend the Constitution for according reservation to the Maratha community. The government will take the ruling and opposition parties into confidence once the Covid crisis recedes. The government will take a delegation to meet the Prime Minister,” he noted.
In a related development, Leader of the Opposition in the state council Pravin Darekar also demanded that the government convene a special session of the legislature to discuss the Maratha quota issue.
Pawar’s announcement came when the government has already launched an exercise to release a slew of sops to the Maratha community including financial assistance, increase in the education loan and training to skilled and unskilled youths.