OBC Quota: Dedicated commission submits report on empirical data which is key component of triple test

Meanwhile, for a change, the Shinde-Fadnavis government and opposition NCP and Congress are on the same page when it comes to holding local body elections with OBC quota.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Saturday, July 09, 2022, 10:04 PM IST
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OBC Quota: Dedicated commission submits report on empirical data which is key component of triple test | File Photo
  • Report to be submitted during the ensuing hearing in SC on July 12 as the government expects restoration of OBC quota on the lines of Madhya Pradesh

  • CM & DCM today urged Solicitor General to represent Maharashtra as the OBC quota is crucial for the state

  • Ruling & Opposition parties want local body elections should not to be held in the absence of the OBC quota

A dedicated commission headed by the chief secretary Jayant Banthia has submitted a crucial report on the empirical data of Other Backward Classes (OBC) to the state chief secretary Manukumar Srivastav. This is one of the key components of the triple test mandated by the Supreme Court in its earlier orders after it scrapped the 27% political reservation of OBCs in local bodies in Maharashtra. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during their Delhi visit on Saturday met Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and discussed the strategy based on the dedicated commission’s report on empirical data for the upcoming hearing in the Supreme Court slated for July 12 on OBC quota issue. The government is optimistic that the apex court will uphold the dedicated commission’s report and on the lines of Madhya Pradesh allow the restoration of the OBC quota in local bodies.

A senior government official told the Free Press Journal, ‘’The dedicated commission has submitted its report on empirical data of OBCs to the chief secretary in a sealed envelope. The government is hopeful that the Supreme Court will accept the findings and give its consent for the restoration of quota in local bodies. The commission’s report is important as the Supreme Court in February rejected a report by the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission which had suggested restoration of a 27% political quota to OBCs subject to a permissible upper limit of 50% excluding statutory reservation for SC and ST. The commission had said that the OBC population in Maharashtra is 38% and not 33%.’’

The state government has already assured the apex court that the OBC quota will be within the 50% quota limit and has set up the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission and the Dedicated Commission for OBCs.

Shinde confirmed that he and Fadnavis met the solicitor general Tushar Mehta and requested him to represent the Maharashtra Government in the upcoming hearing on July 12 in the Supreme Court. Mehta had appeared for the Madhya Pradesh government which was allowed to go ahead with local body polls with OBC reservation and notify the reservation pattern on the basis of the recommendations in the second report of a state backward classes commission. ‘’OBC quota is quite important in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena-BJP government wants the OBCs to get justice,’’ said Shinde.

State NCP chief Jayant Patil claimed that the dedicated commission’s report is a major milestone for the restoration of the OBC quota in local bodies. Veteran NCP leader and Samata Parishad founder Chhagan Bhujbal spoke to Fadnavis and urged him to make all efforts for the restoration of OBC quota in local bodies.

BJP & MVA leaders had claimed ‘’faulty’’ method of empirical data collection harms the interest of OBCs. They had said the exact number of OBCs cannot be ascertained from surnames alone. They have cited that in some places caste is considered a barrier.

Further, BJP and MVA leaders argued that OBCs will be affected if the dedication commission shows their population below 54%. They had demanded a dedicated commission should remove shortcomings in the collection of empirical data on OBCs.

OBC reservation is a must

Meanwhile, for a change, the Shinde-Fadnavis government and opposition NCP and Congress are on the same page when it comes to holding local body elections with OBC quota. Shinde said the government wants the upcoming local body elections to not be held without the OBC quota which has been scrapped by the Supreme Court. He further said that the government will speak to the State Election Commission (SEC) on the time schedule announced for 4 Nagar panchayat and 92 Nagar Parishad elections on August 18 and 271-gram panchayats in 62 talukas on August 4 in the absence of OBC quota. He added that the government wants that these elections should be held after the monsoon and also with the OBC quota.

State NCP chief Jayant Patil said conducting local body polls without quota will be an injustice to OBCs in the state. He added that the government should not insist on conducting local body polls sans OBC quota.

On the other hand, state Congress president Nana Patole blamed the Fadnavis government’s failure for the restoration of OBC quota. He demanded that the BJP should keep aside political differences and help restore the OBC quota in local bodies and that elections should not be held in the state.

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