The Bombay High Court on Thursday, 27 June upheld the reservation for Marathas in the state but quashed the 16 percent quantum of reservations calling it “not justifiable”. While the court agreed to the classification of the Maratha class into “Socially and Educationally Backward Class”, it stated reservation should not exceed 12 percent in education and 13 percent for jobs as recommended by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC). The MSBCC headed by its retired justice, G M Gaikwad had in its 1000-page report had said that the Maratha community is socially, economically and educationally backward.
A division bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharti Dangre passed the 487-page judgment noting, “We hold and declare that the report of the Gaikwad Commission has set out the ‘exceptional circumstances and extra-ordinary situations’ justifying crossing of the limit of 50 percent reservation as set out in the Indra Sawhney case (Supreme Court). It further mentioned, “The 50 percent limit of reservation can be crossed subject to availability of quantifiable and contemporaneous data reflecting backwardness, inadequacy of representation and without affecting the efficiency in administration.”
The Maratha quota is over and above the constitutional reservations and will take the total reservation reservations in the state to 64-65 percent in contravention to the Supreme Court ruling that the total reservation or backward classes should not go beyond the 50 percent mark.
The bench also stated, “…the quantum of reservation set out by the Maharashtra State Reservation for seats for admission in educational institutions in the state and public services and posts under the state for SEBC as 16 percent is not justifiable and we quash and set aside the quantum of reservation under the said provisions over and above 12 percent and 13 percent respectively as recommended by the commission.
While the high court’s verdict is being heralded as a victory of the state’s Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) led government, parents and students belonging to the open category were disappointed. Post graduate students had challenged the government’s decision to implement quota for Marathas in the state’s 21 government postgraduate medical colleges.
Posted in News, States