Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court that the cabinet decision on quotas for Marathas and Muslims has not come into force as a government resolution in this regard is yet to be issued.
“In order to provide such a law, a government resolution will have to be issued. Only then such a decision could be implemented,” Advocate General Darius Khambata told the court.
The court was hearing a PIL challenging 16 per cent reservation for Marathas in government jobs and educational institutions in the state.
A bench, headed by Justice Abhay Oka, then adjourned the hearing to July 9, saying it was open for the state government to file a reply by then.
The PIL, filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar, said “the state’s decision to brand the Maratha community as socially and educationally backward is a fraud committed upon this country and its Constitution.”
Four months ahead of assembly elections, the Congress- NCP government announced 16 per cent reservation for Marathas and 5 per cent for Muslims in jobs and education.
However, the PIL has only challenged the quota for Marathas, contending they were not socially and educationally backward. It urged the court to direct the state government to “recall” the June 25 decision.
Overall reservation in Maharashtra now stands at over 70 per cent, well above the 50 per cent limit set by Supreme Court.
In a related development, an activist of ‘Maratha Sangharsh Samiti’ threw ink on the petitioner outside the HC precincts when he came out after the hearing. Police took the activist, Dilip Patil, into custody.
Undeterred by the incident, Tirodkar said “I have nothing against them (the protesters). Someone may have instigated them. I had received threat messages on WhatsApp but I ignored them.”
According to the PIL, terming Marathas as socially and educationally backward is a “mockery of the people of Maharashtra and of the community”. This is so since Maratha is a linguistic group originating from the term Marathi.
“Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar are from this ‘socially and educationally backward community’. Ninety-nine per cent of the former Chief Ministers of the state also hailed from the same community,” the PIL pointed out.