Interim stay on Maratha reservation: Maharashtra government to move CJI; CM Uddhav Thackeray seeks opinion on course of action
In the wake of the major setback the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government received after the Supreme Court (SC) stayed the Maratha quota in jobs and education on Wednesday, chief minister (CM) Thackeray held a high-level meeting with his cabinet colleagues to address the matter. He will hold a second round with experts and senior counsels to decide the next step in the case. The government is expected to approach the Chief Justice of India with a request for revocation of the stay.
Thackeray chaired a meeting which was attended by deputy CM Ajit Pawar, public works department minister and former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who heads the cabinet sub-committee on the reservation, four other ministers and senior officials from the government. In the meeting held at the CM’s official residence Varsha on Thursday evening, the ministers were briefed about the orders and ways for the state government to request the court to vacate the stay.
According to the members of the cabinet sub-committee, the court order has contradictions and lacks merit. “There was no reason to initiate an interim stay on the quota while transferring the case to the larger bench. In none of the previous reservation cases that were transferred to the larger bench, the quota was stayed. The three-judge bench has observed that the reservation given to Marathas was not in an ‘exceptional and extraordinary’ situation. The report by the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission had proved the backwardness of the community with the help of extensive data it collected,” said a minister, requesting anonymity.
All these factors will be brought to the notice of the SC, the minister said. He added that the court will also be apprised about the chaos-like situation regarding college admissions, owing to the order.
The group of ministers will hold a video conference with senior counsels to the government and experts on Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, alleging that some elements are trying to instigate the community in the wake of the stay order, the government has appealed to the Maratha community to maintain calm. “A few anti-social elements are active in instigating the community by posting misguiding matter on social media. They are aiming to provoke the community to resort to violence, and in turn, defame it. It is time to understand the conspiracy and maintain peace,” said Chavan.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded concessions to the Maratha community in education and jobs until the stay was vacated. “In the wake of the delay in enacting the law for the reservation, our [BJP] government had given the concessions to the community. Similar concessions are required to be given until the stay is vacated,” said BJP’s state unit chief Chandrakant Patil.