Bombay HC upholds quota for Marathas, but orders to cut it from 16 to 12-13%

It may be recalled that a bill was passed in Maharashtra on November 30 last year proposing 16% reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas.

Bombay HC upholds quota for Marathas, but orders to cut it from 16 to 12-13%

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld the reservation awarded to Marathas by Maharashtra government but said the 16% quota is not justifiable and it should be brought down to 12% in educational institutions and 13% in government job appointments.

The Bombay High Court passed the verdict while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the Maharashtra government's decision to grant 16% to Marathas in government jobs and educational institutions under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category.

It may be recalled that a bill was passed in Maharashtra on November 30, 2018 proposing 16% reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas. The decision was challenged at Bombay High Court and many petitions were filed opposing it. Interestingly, some petitions were also filed in support of the government's decision.

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The hearing in all the petitions was started by on February 6 by a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre. The court had closed the petitions for the verdict in April this year. The government had defended its decision to grant 16% reservation to Maratha community claiming that the move was aimed at uplifting the community which was neglected since long.

The petitioners challenging Maharashtra's government, however, stressed that the government is simply giving permanent crutches to the Marathas by giving reservation to them. The petitioners argued that the concept of equality has been destroyed by the Maharashtra government by setting up a special category - Socially and Educationally Backward Class - only to benefit the Marathas. The petitioners argued that the report of Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission said that Marathas and Kunbis are one and the same caste and the state government must include Kunbis also in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.