Since the last two months, students wanting to secure admissions and jobs at different levels in government colleges and state employment sectors have been raising their discontent over the sudden halt in all processes due to the Maratha reservation matter. Students have questioned the Maharashtra government saying, "Why should everyone suffer for a few?"
What is the Maratha quota reservation matter?
On September 9, 2020, the Supreme Court (SC) of India directed an interim stay on reservation in government jobs and admissions to educational institutions for candidates belonging to the Maratha community in Maharashtra. Owing to the pendency of the matter before the top court, the state government cannot give any reservation to the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act. Following which, admissions and job appointments under the government across Maharashtra are on hold following a stay on the 12 per cent quota as the state has termed the Marathas a Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC).
From September 9 till date, admission to First Year Junior College (FYJC), which is a major admission process conducted by the state Education Department with over 2.75 lakh applicants in Mumbai alone, has been halted until further notice. In addition, admissions to higher education such as Undergraduate (UG), Postgraduate (PG) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programmes, including medical, law, engineering, dental, pharmacy, architecture, public service and other professional courses, have been halted by the state government.
Also, job appointments of around 420 candidates who have cleared the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) examination and secured recommendations for government posts are pending. A candidate who secured the MPSC recommendation said, "I want to feed my family during the lockdown and support them financially. I have done a lot of hardwork and invested all my family savings to clear the MPSC examination and secure a government job. The state government cannot leave us hanging in the lurch."
"Enough is enough. Why should all of us suffer and be kept waiting for admissions because of a few who fall under the Maratha quota?" questioned Nilekha Iyer, a student. While, Shailesh Kothari, another student said, "It is unfair towards us who fall in the general or open category without any reservation or quota. Our admissions are stuck and we have no clarity from the state government."
Rahul Diwan, another student said, "It is already November, but our academic year has not begun. Whenever we ask any university head or state education officer when will the admission process resume, they tell us to wait for the direction from the state government. How long should we wait?"
During the recent hearing on the Maratha reservation matter on October 27, the SC adjourned the matter by four weeks.