Mumbai: Justifying the recently-announced reservations in jobs and educational institutes for Marathas, Maharashtra government has said in an affidavit in the Bombay High Court that the community had been given reservations in the pre-Independence times.
"In 1903 and 1942, reservation was provided for the Maratha community under backward class category but post- Independence reservation was withdrawn, which resulted in educational, social and economic backwardness of the community. Therefore, the reservation is justified," says the affidavit of Ramhari Shinde, secretary, Social Justice department.
Former journalist Ketan Tirodkar and others have challenged the recent government resolution granting 16 per cent reservations to Marathas and five per cent reservations to Muslims. The next hearing is slated for August 26 before the bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.
After the RM Bapat Commission submitted its report on the issue of reservations for Marathas in 2008, it was noticed that no data had been collected by the Comission and views of people had not been considered, the affidavit said.
The state then requested Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission to provide a proper report but no report was furnished. The government then appointed a committee under the chairmanship of the then Industries Minister (Narayan Rane) which collected data on the backwardness of the community and found that it was economically, socially and educationally backward, the affidavit adds.
Another PIL, filed by Anil Thanekar, objects to reservation on the the basis of religion, as in the case of Muslims. He also argues that these reservations take the total reservation to above 50 per cent, breaching the cap imposed by the Supreme Court.