The Maharashtra legislature on Monday passed a bill bringing down the quantum of Maratha reservation from 16 per cent, as determined earlier by the state, to 12 per cent and 13 per cent in education and government jobs. The bill, which follows a Bombay High Court order last week, amended the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act to revise downwards the percentage of quota for Marathas.
The amendment bill was first passed by the assembly and subsequently by the council. Moving the amendment bill in the assembly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the HC had upheld the constitutional validity of the law, providing for quota to the community, but directed that it be slashed from 16 per cent to 12 per cent and 13 per cent in education and jobs.
Fadnavis told the Lower House said at present the SEBC law stands, but the quantum of quota (16 per cent) does not exist. Tabling the bill in the council, he said, "The assembly has already passed the bill."
"The quantifiable data of the Maharashtra Backward Classes Commission (MBCC) has recommended 12 per cent reservation in educational institutes and 13 per cent in government jobs (for Marathas)," Fadnavis said.
Earlier, the state government had given 16 per cent reservation to Marathas in education and jobs, but the HC had slashed the quota quantum, saying it should be as per the commission's recommendations.
The Advocate General, who represented the state in the HC over the quota issue, had advised the government to amend the original act which was passed late last year to pave the way for implementing the court direction.
Accordingly, as per the court order and after passage of the amendment bill, there will be 12 per cent quota in education and 13 per cent in government jobs for the Maratha community.
With both houses of the legislature passing the bill, it will now be sent to the governor for his signature, post which it will become law.
Last month, the Assembly had unanimously cleared a bill to provide reservation to the Maratha community in post-graduate medical courses.
The government had earlier promulgated an ordinance on this.
The state legislature had on November 29 last year passed a bill proposing 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for Marathas, declared socially and educationally backward by the commission.
However, admissions to post-graduate medical courses had started on November 2 and the government had granted 16 per cent quota to Marathas in them through the ordinance.
Students from the open category had moved the Bombay HC and the reservation in admissions was scrapped.
Last month, the Nagpur bench of the HC had said the 16 per cent reservation for the Maratha community under the SEBC category will not be applicable for post-graduate medical courses this year.
The HC had contended that the government's decision to introduce the Maratha quota in admission to PG medical courses was unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court had also upheld the high court order, cancelling the 16 per cent SEBC quota for post-graduate medical seats in Maharashtra.