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Maratha reservation bill unanimously passed minutes after tabling in special Assembly session

Now, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will move the Bill to the Upper House for consideration and passage. The Maharastra Legislature is bicameral in nature, consisting of a Legislative Council and a Legislative Assembly.

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The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (lower house) unanimously passed the Maratha Reservation Bill tabled on Tuesday, which intended to extend 10 per cent reservation to Marathas above the 50 per cent cap. The CM will now table the bill in the Legislative Council for assent, after which it becomes law. The Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, Vijay Wadettiwar, said the opposition parties were also of the same view that the Maratha community be given the reservation.

The state government has convened a one-day special session of the state legislature for tabling and further consideration of this special Bill. The bill for the 10 per cent Maratha quota that the Mahayuti government of Eknath Shinde approved on Tuesday is similar to the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018, introduced by the then Devendra Fadnavis government.

This is the third time in a decade that the state has introduced legislation for the Maratha quota. “I am the CM of the state and I work with the blessings of all. We don’t think on the basis of caste or religion. If such a situation comes with any other community, my stand as CM will be similar to what is my stand for the Maratha community. Our PM always says Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas,” Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said.

“We all are of similar views here on the Maratha reservation so I will not make may political statements here. With the cooperation of you all, we could do it. I kept my promise which I made to the Maratha community. I thank all my colleagues including my both DCMs and other ministers. Today is a day of fulfilment of our promises,” Shinde added after tabling the bill. “Our aim was to work on a war footing, day and night, to bring this issue to a proper conclusion. The Maharashtra government is fully committed to giving reservations to the Marathas and today we are doing this. Devendra ji and Ajit Pawar ji always used to tell me that by whatever means we have to give reservations to the Maratha community. Devendra ji had once given reservations to the Maratha community while being the Chief Minister and that reservation was also upheld in the High Court. But unfortunately for some reason, it was struck down by the honourable Supreme Court,” the CM further stated.

“Therefore, this time we have reconstituted the Backward Classes Commission and conducted a survey as per the order of the Supreme Court and after collecting the necessary data, we are now planning to give them reservations. We have tried to fulfil the rules and regulations in every way and now we are ready to give this reservation,” he added. The decision to convene a special session was prompted by Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil, who is on a hunger strike at Antarwali Saarati village in Jalna district. Among his demands are Kunbi certificates for all Marathas, free education from kindergarten to postgraduate level, and the reservation of seats for Marathas in government job recruitments.

The reservation has been extended based on a report submitted to the state government by the Maharashtra Backward Class Commission (MBCC), headed by retired Justice (Retired) Sunil Shukre. The state already has a 10 per cent quota for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in which the Marathas are the biggest beneficiaries, claiming about 85 per cent of those.

The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission on Friday submitted a report on the social and educational backwardness of the Maratha community for which it had undertaken a survey of around 2.5 crore homes within only nine days. The committee proposed a 10 per cent reservation for Marathas in education and jobs, similar to that of the previous bill brought in 2018 by the then-state government.

In June 2017, the then Devendra Fadnavis government constituted the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC), headed by Justice (retired) MG Gaikwad, to study the social, financial, and educational status of the Maratha community. The Commission submitted its report in November 2018, classifying Marathas as a socially and educationally backward class (SEBC).

On May 5, 2021, the Supreme Court struck down reservations for the Maratha community in colleges, higher educational institutions, and jobs, after noting that there was no valid ground to breach a 50 per cent reservation while granting a Maratha reservation.

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