Reservation row: Marathas not a backward community, petitioners tell HC

Mumbai: The petitioners who have opposed reservations for the Marathas and the Muslims in Maharashtra, today argued before the Bombay High Court that these communities were not backward, and Marathas were in fact dominant in many sectors.

Former journalist Ketan Tirodkar who has filed one of the public interest litigations against state government's election-year decision to provide reservations today stated that 75 percent of cooperative sugar factories in Maharashtra were controlled by Marathas.

Further, 75 percent of the educational institutions too were controlled by the same community, he said. Also, 75 percent of the land in the state was owned by the Maratha community, he added.

File photo of Mumbai High Court. Image used for representational purposes only. AFP

File photo of Mumbai High Court. Image used for representational purposes only. AFP

The people from the community form majority of the borrowers of Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank, and many loans of the bank had turned bad, leading to appointment of administrator, he said.

The division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah asked Tirodkar to provide data regarding the purported dominance of Marathas in economically strong regions of Satara, Sangli, Parbhani, Baramati, Pune and Karad, vis-a-vis other districts.

The Congress-NCP government, which is facing Assembly elections next month, earlier this year took the decision to provide 16 percent reservations for Marathas and five percent for the Muslims.

Senior advocate Pradeep Sancheti, appearing for the NGO Youth For Equality, another petitioner, argued that as per the Supreme Court's guidelines aggregate reservations cannot exceed 50 percent, and a religion can not be a basis for providing reservations.

The government's argument is that these two communities were "socially and economically backward". Advocate General Darius Khambata said that as to the Marathas, the decision was based on the recommendations of a committee headed by minister Narayan Rane, while as to the Muslims, it was based on recommendations of Rajinder Sachhar committee and Mahmoodur Rahman committee.

The arguments would continue tomorrow.

PTI


Updated Date: Sep 18, 2014 19:39 PM

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