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Quota Maratha: SC points to absolute political consensus in Maharashtra | Mumbai News




Justifying its decision to bring the Marathas into the reserves, the Maharashtra government on Monday told the Supreme Court that there is absolute political consensus in the state and all parties are in its favor.
Senior Paramit Patwalia lawyer, appearing for the state, told a court judges Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Najeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat that the Maharashtra State Reserves Act for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes was passed unanimously in the assembly and all parties supported the law.
He said all 288 MLAs voted in favor of the law regardless of political affiliation and whether they belonged to the reserved or general category. Similarly, there were 78 members on the legislative council and all supported the law, he said.
Rejecting the claim that the Gaikwad Commission, which had recommended the reservation for the Marathas, was biased, the state government said it had some members from the upper castes, however the recommendations were unanimous. The commission presented its report after conducting extensive interactions with people from different walks of life, he added.
Patwalia said that the background and credentials of the Gaikwads Justice cannot be questioned, nor that of other panel members. A special quota was created for the Marathas as their inclusion within the OBC category would have no benefit, he added.
The Marathas were considered socially and educationally backward from 1901 to 1953. Even the Kalelkar commission identified the Marathas as OBC but it was rejected by the Center and since then, the Marathas have been kept out of the booking policy, he said.
The state government had drafted the law on November 30, 2018, giving 16% quota for Marathas in government jobs and admission to educational institutions. While enforcing the law, HC Bombay on June 27 last year led the government to reduce it to 12% for education and 13% for jobs as suggested by the Gaikwad panel.
Challenging the HC order, the quota claimants claimed that HC had misread the SC judgments to conclude that there is no strict 50% booking limit as set out in the 1992 Indra Sawhney case.
The state government objected that there was no illegality in granting reserves to the Maratha community.

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