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Maharashtra cabinet gives nod to issue ordinance to amend SEBC Act

The move comes as a relief 253 medical aspirants from the Maratha community

mumbai Updated: May 17, 2019 23:20 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
mumbai,maratha,SEBC quota
Last week, medical students from the Maratha community staged a protest at Azad Maidan, demanding implementation of 16% reservation.(HT Photo)

The Maharashtra cabinet on Friday gave its nod to promulgate an ordinance to amend the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act to uphold admissions of 253 post graduate medical and dental course aspirants in the Maratha quota. The state will also provide scholarship to students from the open category, if the admission process is disturbed owing to the implementation of the Maratha quota.

The decisions come after the Supreme Court (SC) struck down reservations in the SEBC quota for PG medical and dental courses this year. State revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said the ordinance shows the “intent” of the government to provide reservation. “The ordinance explains what we had said earlier [in the Act]. There’s nothing new. The cabinet, after getting due clearance from the Election Commission, decided to bring in an ordinance to protect the admission of these students,” Patil said.

A senior state government official said although the draft has been sent, the ordinance may not be promulgated immediately. “The governor is busy. Moreover, he will have to consult his legal team before giving a go-ahead. It will take a couple of days at least,” the official said.

The SC petitioner had contended that a section in the SEBC Act states the provision of the Act will not apply to the admission processes that have already been initiated. “Entrance exams don’t have reservations. We had declared that we will implement the SEBC quota in our 50% share. The process began on February 22, when we declared our prospectus. The ordinance is needed to specify this,” Patil said.

Meanwhile, protesting students said their stir will continue. “The government has released a press note on the ordinance and not the ordinance. Our protest will continue till it is finalised,” said Shivaji Bhonsale, a PG student, who is protesting at Azad Maidan in Mumbai. Patil, however, said, “Protesters need to understand how the government works. The cabinet, which is the highest body in the state, has taken a decision. Now the process will start.”

Anticipating petitions against the decision, the state will file a caveat in the Bombay high court and the Aurangabad and Nagpur benches as well as the Supreme Court, Patil said. The state has also sought to extend the deadline to complete the admission process till May 31, from the earlier May 25.

The cabinet decided to seek additional 213 seats in medical courses, and took an in-principle decision to provide scholarship to students of open category seeking admission in private colleges. “We have sent a proposal to the Centre seeking more seats. We have sought 195 PG medical and 32 PG dental seats in Maharashtra. Our proposal will be discussed in a meeting on May 21. If we get these additional seats, we will be able to give admissions to more students. After the Maratha reservation came into force, many students got admissions in deemed colleges through the management quota. For such cases, the state will provide scholarship and aid them in fees,” the minister said.

First Published: May 17, 2019 23:19 IST