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Maharashtra Assembly passes Maratha reservation bill granting 16% quota; MLAs chant 'Chhattrapati Shivaji ki Jai'

The Maharashtra Assembly on Thursday submitted to a decades-long demand for a Maratha quota in the state and unanimously passed a bill grating the 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!"

On 18 November, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government had approved the recommendation for Maratha reservation, including quota for women in education and employment.

"We've completed a due procedure for Maratha reservation report and we're bringing in a bill on Thursday. But for Dhangar reservation, we've not completed the report, a sub-committee is appointed and soon a report and ATR will be tabled in this house," Fadnavis had said earlier in the day.

Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil said that even after the quota law is passed, other facilities provided to the Maratha community for employment and educational purposes for the last two years will remain.

The state government had received the State Backward Class Commission (SBCC) report on 15 November, which has suggested 16 percent reservation for the socially and economically backward (SEBC) community.

Marathas have inadequate representation in services under the state, the panel report said. They are entitled to reservation benefits and advantages enshrined in the Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution, it said.

The panel had suggested that looking at exceptional circumstances and extra-ordinary situations generated on declaring Marathas as socially and educationally backward and their consequential entitlement to reservation benefits, the government may take appropriate decision within constitutional provision to address the emerging scenario in the state.

The report also noted that the 16 percent reservation for Marathas has to be provided without touching the existing quota reserved for Other Backward Classes.

The government presented the report before the state Cabinet on 18 November, which approved it and formed a sub-committee to proceed further.

Previously, the Maharashtra government had said that the state government was unsure whether the quantum of quota will be 16 percent.

This is because the current reserved quota in Maharashtra stands at 52 percent, which includes communities from Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) as well as Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and other special categories. This figure is already above the 50 percent limit set for caste-based reservations by the Supreme Court in 2008.

The government will therefore have to adjust the proposed 16 percent against pre-existing reservations.

The Maratha community, which constitutes over 30 percent of the state's population, has been demanding reservation in government jobs and education for a long time.

The community's agitation for the same in July and August this year had taken a violent turn. Groups of Maratha youths had taken out rallies and forced shops to down their shutters. The protesters staged a rasta roko at Teen Hath Naka in Thane and blocked traffic coming in and out of Mumbai.

Protesters torched two BEST buses and vandalised nine others while two Thane Municipal Transport buses were damaged.


With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 29, 2018 15:07:16 IST

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