The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that it was in the process of tabling the State Backward Class Commission’s recommendations on the Maratha quota issue before the state legislature.
State’s counsel, Additional Government Pleader Abhinandan Vagyani, informed the court that the state Cabinet had received the recommendations from the commission and was mulling further action.
“The state Cabinet is in the process of placing the report (the commission’s recommendations) before the House and taking other appropriate steps,” Vagyani said.
Following the state’s submission, a bench of Justices B P Dharamadhikari and Sarang Kotwal disposed of all pending litigations in the high court on the issue of reservation for the Maratha community.
The bench noted that the commission and the state had complied with the court’s previous orders on submission of such recommendations and therefore, there did not remain any need for a further hearing on the pending petitions.
The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions filed between 2014 and 2015 after the then Congress-NCP government granted 16 per cent quota in government jobs and education to the Maratha community.
While some of the petitions opposed the government’s decision, two petitions had sought immediate implementation of the quota.
In November 2014, in an interim order, a division bench of the Bombay High Court had stayed the then government’s decision to provide the 16 per cent quota, on the grounds that it was in breach of the Supreme Court’s order that prescribed an upper limit of 50 per cent for caste and community-based quota.
On August 7 this year, while hearing the same petitions, another division bench of the HC had directed the commission to complete its research on the issue and submit its recommendations to the state in a time-bound manner.
The bench, led by Justice Dharamadhikari, noted on Wednesday that since the above order had been complied with, the pleas could be disposed of.
“Once the commission’s recommendations are placed before the legislature and made public, the petitioners can approach this court if they still have any grievances,” the bench said.
The Maratha community, which constitutes over 30 per cent of the state’s population, had held protests across the state earlier this year demanding quota in jobs and educational institutions.
The state government had on Sunday announced that the Maratha community will be granted quota under a new category called ‘Socially and Educationally Backward Class’ (SEBC), as per the recommendation of the State Backward Class Commission.
The government is yet to decide the quantum of reservation, though the Marathas are seeking 16 per cent quota.
State Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil had said on Tuesday that a decision on tabling the State Backward Class Commission’s report on the Maratha quota in the Assembly will be taken after seeking a legal opinion on it.
The leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had demanded that the commission’s report be immediately tabled in the House for clarity on it.