The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Legislative Council that it was serious about bringing about religion-based reservation for the Muslim community in education.
Senior minister Eknath Khadse announced this in response to a question raised by a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member of the Council, Abdullah Khan Durrani. Khadse said the government was trying to push its case in the Bombay high court (HC) as well.
The Devendra Fadnavis government had earlier said that it was against the idea of religion-based reservations. The reservation, 5% for the community in government jobs and educational institutes, was brought by the previous Congress-NCP government through an ordinance on the eve of the 2014 Assembly polls. The HC, in November last year, stayed the ordinance and allowed the government to keep a quota for Muslims only in educational institutes.
The government, however, decided to scrap this quota by scrapping the ordinance altogether.
“We are planning to put forth strong, compelling arguments for the court to allow Muslim reservations in jobs. The community is lagging in aspects like education, representation in government services among others. We will submit a list of reasons specifying why we think the community needs reservations,” said Khadse.
However, the opposition wasn’t too impressed by Khadse’s statement, with the Congress and the NCP stalling the proceedings over the government’s delay.
Congress MLA Amin Patel, who, along with a group of Muslim legislators met Fadnavis on Thursday to press for the reservations, criticised Khadse’s statement. “The government is trying to mislead the house. If they are serious about the quota, then they need to bring a bill and execute it, just like they executed the Maratha reservations even though the court struck it down.”