Maratha quota row: 3 move HC against state ordinance; state government’s reply sought
The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court (HC) on Monday served a notice to the state advocate general, asking him to respond to a petition challenging the state’s ordinance on the Maratha reservation.
The petition was filed on Monday by three medical aspirants from the state, two belonging to the general category and one from the other backward class (OBC), after the Supreme Court (SC), on Friday, refused to stay the state government’s ordinance to retain reservation for Marathas in postgraduate (PG) medical and dental courses.
Ashwin Deshpande, counsel for the petitioners, argued that the ordinance is “illegal” and “unconstitutional”. “The ordinance was brought in just to protect the students from SEBC community. Its purpose was to subvert the legal process and nullify the orders of SC and HC,” he said.
The SC had, on Friday, said the pleas against the ordinance should be heard by the HC, as the latter is already hearing other petitions challenging socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) reservation. The HC has asked the state to submit its reply by June 10.
On May 2, the Nagpur bench of HC ruled that the state’s 16% quota for Marathas under SEBC category will not apply to PG medical and dental courses this year.
The SC, on May 9, upheld this judgement after which, the state passed an ordinance removing the legal hitch in applying Maratha reservation to PG medical and dental courses in the state this year.
A new clause added to the SEBC Reservation Act, 2018, sets the last day to apply for admission to the courses, for which admissions are conducted through entrance tests such as the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), as the cut-off day to implementing the quota.
Earlier, the Act had fixed the beginning of entrance test process as the cut-off date for all courses, which resulted in legal challenges to the Maratha quota in PG dental and medical courses in the state, as the application process for entrance tests for these courses began on October 16 and November 2, last year, respectively, much before the Act became a law on November 30.