Mumbai: The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission submitted on Thursday its report on social and economic conditions of the Maratha community to state Chief Secretary D K Jain. According to a government source, the report has made favourable recommendations on the demands of the Maratha community for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, without disturbing the quota granted to Other Backward Classes (OBC).
“We have received the report, which is based on the economic, social conditions of the Marathas. Appropriate decision will be taken after studying it,” Jain told reporters at Mantralaya after receiving the report. A government source said the commission went through 2 lakh memorandums submitted to it, surveys of about 45,000 families as well as empirical data on the social, financial and educational backwardness of the Maratha community.
“The commission went through old historical records, old verdicts, studied constitutional provision, writings by noted anthropologist, sociologist Irawati Karve and several organisations like Pune’s Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics and others,” the source said.
The panel is headed by Justice N G Gaikwad (retired). A senior cabinet minister of the BJP, said the party cannot afford to lose their core base, the OBCs, ahead of the Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls next year. “The government has to provide the Maratha community 16 per cent reservation. We cannot go below that. However currently, 52 per cent quota is in place. Therefore, the total reservation will go up to 68 per cent,” the minister said.
He further said the government is expecting that those opposing the decision will approach the High Court, after the cabinet gives nod to the recommendations and tables it in the Legislative Assembly during its winter session. “If the court admits the plea, but does not stay the decision, like in the case of Tamil Nadu, then we can go ahead with it. Problem will rise if the court gives a stay order ahead of the elections,” the minister said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had told reporters in Akola on Wednesday that his government would complete all legal formalities by the end of November to grant reservations to the Maratha community. In July this year, the government had announced 16 per cent reservation for the Marathas in 72,000 government jobs which was later stayed following protests.
On June 25, 2014, months before the assembly polls, the then Congress-NCP government under then chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had announced 16 per cent reservation quota in government jobs and in educational institutions for Marathas and five percent quotas for the Muslim community. However, on November 14, 2014, the Bombay High Court stayed the government decision and on November 18, 2014, the Supreme Court had declined to vacate the HC stay.