Maharashtra Assembly ‘unanimously passes’ bill proposing 16% quota for Marathas
The Maharashtra Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a bill proposing 16 percent reservation for the politically influential Maratha community under Social and Economically Backward Class category.
The bill provides for reservation of seats for admission in educational institutions and posts in public services to Marathas who have been declared as socially and educationally backward class of citizens.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who tabled the bill, thanked Opposition members for helping in the passage of the bill unanimously.
The CM tabled the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the recommendations of the State Backward Class Commission on the long-pending demand of the Marathas.
Fadnavis also tabled the Bill based on the ATR recommendations to provide for quotas in educational institutions and in government jobs, before both Houses of the legislature.
However, the report on quotas for the Dhangar community is yet to be completed for which a sub-committee has been appointed and its ATR would be tabled in the legislature soon, he added.
The bill was passed by both houses without any opposition or discussion. It has now been sent to Governor C Vidyasagar Rao for his assent.
Leaders of different political parties greeted the developments as “a historic day for the Marathas” who comprise nearly 30 percent of the state’s population.
The ATR says that the Marathas comprise a socially and economically backward class who are without adequate reservations in education and government jobs.
Accordingly, they are entitled to the quota benefits enshrined in the Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution, and the government could initiate suitable measures to address the issues.
Since the Maratha reservations come under a new SEBC category, they will not affect the existing quotas for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (SC/ST/OBCs).
At 52 percent reservation, Maharashtra had already breached the 50 percent ceiling set by the Supreme Court for state governments and the Centre. The quota for Maratha community has taken the reservation to 68 percent, the highest in the country after Tamil Nadu where the quota is up to 69 percent.
Incidentally, the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party had also made a similar 16 percent quota proposal but it was stayed by the Bombay High Court.
The Marathas have been organising massive silent protests all over the state for nearly two years, including agitations in July-August this year which became violent.
Thursday’s development comes ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.