Mumbai: BJP blames MVA for SC
striking down Maratha quota
BL Soni

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has squarely blamed the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the reservation for the Maratha community in government jobs and education. The state failed to convince the court that it has every right to enact a law to provide reservation on the basis of the recommendations of the backward class commission, say the party leaders, refusing any role of the central government in the issue.

MVA cannot blame the central government for the 120nd Constitutional Amendment, because it specifically speaks about the inclusion of a community in its Other Backward Classes (OBC) list. The state can include any community with due diligence in its list and that’s what we could have convinced the Bombay High Court, Chandrakant Patil, state BJP chief, said.

The MVA government should not create a misunderstanding on the issue. State Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Ashok Chavan, who also heads the cabinet sub-committee on the Maratha reservation, should accept the responsibility for the mess, Patil demanded.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, under whose tenure the BJP-led state government enacted the Maharashtra State Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, said it was a clear mishandling by the MVA government. “It was the lack of the communication between the advocates and the government that led to a failure in providing instructions when required and the non-availability of translated transcripts of the appendices from the backward class commission reports,” he alleged.

When we were in power, we could convince the Bombay High Court about the validity of the state legislation and later the SC. Because of our efforts, no stay was granted by the Chief Justice of India, Fadnavis said. The state legislation was set aside just because of the lack of the communication and coordination between the advocates and the government, he alleged. He added that the state could not provide substantial information when the SC asked whether the backward class commission report was biased or one-sided.

On the issue of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment, Fadnavis said the state legislation was enacted before the amendment. “What we carried out was just an amendment and it was pointed out during the hearing before the SC. The Attorney General of India has clearly told the SC bench that the 102nd Constitution Amendment did not affect the right of the states to identify OBCs. The amendment was only related to the identification of OBCs in the central lists. Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta told the bench that the union government was supporting the Maratha quota,” he said.

Fadnavis demanded that the state government should appoint a committee of senior advocates and a report of the committee should be placed before all party meetings and then the next strategy should be decided. “We are ready to cooperate with the government,” he said.

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