The Bombay high court will decide on March 29 whether it would transfer to the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes the additional data supporting the claim that Maratha community is socially and educationally backward.
The court is hearing a bunch of public interest litigations, challenging the state government’s decision of June 25, 2014, to grant reservation in public employment and education to Marathas (16 per cent) and Muslims (5 per cent).
The government has filed an additional affidavit placing on record huge additional data in support of its claim that Maratha community is socially and educationally backward and so deserves reservation in public employment and education.
Counsel for one of the petitioners, advocate VM Thorat, suggested that the data be referred to the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes saying it would not be feasible for the high court to analyse the entire data.
Senior advocate Mihir Desai, who appeared for another petitioner, submitted that the data was not available to Rane Committee, on whose recommendations the decision was taken. He said the court can benefit from the conclusions drawn by the Commission, headed by Justice (retired) SB Mhase, to decide the challenge to the government’s decision.
Special counsel for the government, senior advocate VA Thorat, responded to the suggestion saying the government has no objection to referring the data to the Commission.
But, senior advocate Pradip Sancheti, who represented another petitioner, raised objections to the suggestion saying the Commission should not examine validity of the state government’s plea to carve out exception for Maratha reservation as a special case and allow the government to cross the limit of 50% for reservation in public employment and education.
The division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Girish Kulkarni will hear the petitions on March 29, especially for considering whether to refer the data to the Commission as suggested by some of the petitioners.
Acting on petitions, the court on November 14, 2014, stayed the state government’s decision to give 16 per cent reservation for Marathas. It also stayed the decision of giving 5 per cent reservation to specified 50 Muslim communities for public employment, but allowed them to take benefit of 5% reservation in government-run and aided educational institutes.