Maratha Reservation Act: Days after passing bill in Assembly, Maharashtra govt files caveat in SC and insists on being heard first

The Government of Maharashtra on Monday filed a caveat in the Supreme Court in connection with the Maratha Reservation Act, insisting that it is heard before any ruling is passed in the matter. A caveat is a legal process a party files in court when it believes that the court may grant a hearing in the matter concerned. A caveat ensures that the court hears its side before passing any order.

The move comes after Governor of Maharashtra C Vidyasagar Rao signed the bill on Friday a day after it was passed by the Assembly. The Maharashtra Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed the bill, which grants the Maratha community 16 percent reservation in government jobs and educational institutes. The bill was passed in both Houses of the Assembly amidst chants of "Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki jai!"

 Maratha Reservation Act: Days after passing bill in Assembly, Maharashtra govt files caveat in SC and insists on being heard first

File image of people participating in a Maratha community protest march in Mumbai. PTI

On 15 November, the Maharashtra government received the State Backward Class Commission report on 15 November, which recommended 16 percent reservation for the community, which it declared socially and economically backward. A day later, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the government had approved the recommendation to grant Marathas quota in the state, submitted to the decades-long demand for reservation for the community.

If the Union Cabinet approves this Maratha reservation in Maharashtra, and Parliament approves expanding the groups under Other Backward Classes, the total extent of reservation in Maharashtra would be 68 percent. This puts a likely legal hurdle in Fadnavis and the Maharashtra government's path, given the Supreme Court's 50 percent cap on quota for any community, and explains the need for the Maharashtra government to file a caveat in the Supreme Court.

A number of petitions were filed in the Bombay High Court on the issue of Maratha reservation in Maharashtra in 2014 and 2015 after the then Congress-Nationalist Congress government had granted 16 percent quota in government jobs and education to the Maratha community. While some of the petitions opposed the government's decision, two had sought immediate implementation of the reservation.

In November 2014, in an interim order, a division bench of the Bombay High Court had stayed the then government's decision.

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Updated Date: Dec 03, 2018 11:54:19 IST