The Bombay High Court Friday questioned the Maharashtra government’s decision to create a separate category called Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) for providing reservation to the Maratha community.
A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre asked why the Maratha community was not included in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category.
“If, according to the government the SEBC and OBC are one and the same then what was the need to create a separate class?” Justice More asked.
“The state could have included the Maratha community in the OBC category and granted them (Marathas) 16 per cent reservation. Why the segregation?” the court said.
Responding to the court’s query, government counsel V A Thorat said the state’s intention was to give the Maratha community reservation only in government jobs and educational institutions.
“Had the government included the Maratha community in the OBC category, then they would have automatically got full reservation, including political. The state did not want this,” Thorat said.
“This was the main reason and ground for creating a separate category,” the senior counsel argued.
Thorat further argued that Articles 15 (4) and 16 (4) of the Constitution of India gives the state government powers to identify backward classes and take measures towards their betterment.
On November 30, 2018, the Maharashtra Legislature passed a bill proposing 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas, a declared socially and educationally backward class by the government.