The Bombay high court on Wednesday said it will take up a bunch of petitions challenging Maharashtra government’s decision to provide reservation for Maratha community in public service and education sectors for final hearing in February.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak also asked the parties to complete filing their respective affidavits and counter affidavits by January 30, when the court will ensure that the pleadings are completed and fix the date for final hearing.
On June 25, 2014, state cabinet had extended reservation to Maratha community (16%) and specified Muslim (5%) communities in public employment and education. Acting on the bunch of petitions challenging the decision, on November 14, 2014 another HC bench had stayed the implementation to carve out 16% reservation for Marathas.
In 2014 another bench of the high court has stayed the implementation of the decision to carve out 16% reservation for Maratha community in public employment and education. By the same order, the court also stayed the benefit of 5% reservation extended to specified 50 Muslim communities in public employment, but allowed the benefit of 5% reservation in education for the Muslim communities to continue.
The court has stayed the reservation in favour of Maratha community primarily in view of the clear and cogent findings recorded by the Mandal Commission (1990), by the National Commission for Backward Classes in February 2000 and July 2008 report of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (Bapat Commission) that Maratha community is educationally and socially advanced.
The court has stayed the benefit of 5% reservation in employment given to the specified Muslim communities primarily on the ground that the apex court has laid down in clear terms that percentage of reservation, as regards public employment, cannot exceed ceiling limit of 50%, and the total reservation in public employment in Maharashtra had already exceeded the ceiling.