Panel submits Maratha report ahead of assembly session for quota law passage | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Panel submits Maratha report ahead of assembly session for quota law passage

Feb 16, 2024 11:31 AM IST

The submission came weeks after quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil called off his indefinite hunger strike as the Maharashtra government issued a draft ordinance for the quota

The State Commission of Maharashtra for Backward Class (SCMBC) on Friday submitted a report to chief minister Eknath Shinde on the social status and backwardness of the Maratha community ahead of a special session of the state assembly on February 20 for the passage of a law for the Maratha quota.

Shinde said the survey will be placed before the Cabinet. (X)
Shinde said the survey will be placed before the Cabinet. (X)

The submission came weeks after quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil called off his indefinite hunger strike as the Maharashtra government issued a draft ordinance for the quota in education and jobs under the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) category. Patil has demanded the inclusion of all Marathas under the OBC category by giving them Kunbi sub-caste certificates. Kunbis have a quota under the OBC category.

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SCMBC chairperson Sunil Shukre said he worked until 6.45am on Friday to finish the report and submit it to Shinde. “We have worked until early morning on many days. I am feeling relieved. Had we gone with normal speed, it would have taken one and half months more,’’ said Shukre.

MSCBC was tasked to correctly ascertain the Maratha backwardness and therefore eligibility for reservation in jobs and education. It widened the parameters and scrutinised changes in the living conditions of the community.

Shinde said the survey will be placed before the Cabinet for a decision. “We have announced a special session of the legislature on February 20 and will have a discussion.”

Shinde said millions of families have been surveyed and that Marathas deserve reservation which will withstand legal scrutiny.

The state government granted 16% reservation to the community in 2018 after protests, acceding to the decades-old Maratha demand. The Bombay high court slashed the quota to 13% in jobs and 12% in education before the Supreme Court in 2021 quashed the move.

Patil began his march to Mumbai on January 20, saying he would sit on a fast unto death until the state government announced reservation for the community largely dependent on agriculture. He described the march as the biggest in Maharashtra history. Patil earlier resumed his hunger strike in October after his 40-day deadline to the Maharashtra government for the reservation to all Marathas passed even as the state government requested the activist to call off the agitation.

The government maintained it needed time for the reservation, which stands legal scrutiny while promising to accede to Patil’s demand. Patil, who questioned the government for going back on its word, ended his previous 17-day hunger strike on September 14 in the presence of Shinde after an assurance that the government would take a call on the matter in 30 days.

The police lathi charge in Jalna at the site of Patil’s hunger on September 1 fuelled the agitation for the OBC status of Marathas. Shinde later announced that Marathas from central Maharashtra could get quota under the OBC category if they produce certificates classifying them as Kunbi.

The state government in September appointed retired judge Sandeep Shinde-led committee to explore modalities of the reservation. The Maratha groups insisted they wanted reservations without any stipulation amid concerns among Kunbi and other OBC groups.

The state government found 5.7 million Kunbi certificates. Patil has insisted that all Marathas are Kunbi and should get quota under the OBC quota.

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