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Maratha reservation for those below creamy layer only: Maharashtra government tells HC

Principal counsel for the state VA Thorat said reservation was only meant for those in the socially and educationally backward category

mumbai Updated: Feb 27, 2019 22:54 IST
K A Y Dodhiya
K A Y Dodhiya
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Maharashtra,Bombay HC
Members of Maratha community celebrate after Maharashtra Assembly unanimously passed a bill proposing 16% reservation for Maratha community.(HT PHOTO)

On Wednesday, the state has commenced its arguments defending the 16% reservation granted by it to Marathas on November 29, 2018. It stated that the contentions of the petitioners, that a large number of educational institutions and sugar mills were owned by Marathas, and the community should therefore not be given reservation, was unfounded.

Principal counsel for the state VA Thorat informed the court that the reservation excluded the creamy layer of the community, which is economically well-off, and was only meant for those in the socially and educationally backward category.

On Wednesday, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi informed the bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre that the arguments by petitioners, claiming the 102nd Amendment took away the rights of the state to give reservation, was misconstrued as both article 15 and 16 empowered the state to give reservation in education and jobs. He said that if the president refused to give approval for reservation, then the community deserving reservation would suffer, hence the state went ahead and enacted the Socially and Economically Backward Class (SEBC) Act, 2018.

“The reservation is not meant for political positions as the Marathas have elected their representatives due to their sheer numbers, however, reservation is sought in education and posts in government organisations,” said Thorat.

Thorat’s submission only corroborated the averment of the Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admission in educational institutions in the state and for appointments in the public services and posts under the state) for SEBC Act. It states: “The state government is of the opinion that the persons belonging to such category below the creamy layer need special help to advance further in the contemporary period so that they can move to a stage of equality with the advanced section of the society wherefrom they can proceed on their own.”

Thorat then justified the state’s decision to grant reservation for educational backwardness. “The minimum qualification for any government job is graduation. Marathas do not have access to admission in aided and unaided educational institutions in technical and higher education, hence by providing them reservation, this shortcoming can be overcome,” he said.

Thorat will continue his arguments on Thursday following which senior advocate Anil Sakhare will present his defence.

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 22:36 IST