Maharashtra Cabinet Sub-Committee Convenes Crucial Meeting on Maratha Reservation
Maharashtra Cabinet Sub-Committee Convenes Crucial Meeting on Maratha Reservation

MUMBAI: In a pivotal development regarding the contentious issue of Maratha reservation, the Maharashtra Cabinet sub-committee is set to convene today. The meeting, scheduled for noon, will see the participation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

This comes in the wake of a violent clash that erupted last Friday between law enforcement and demonstrators in Jalna, where protestors were demanding reservation for the Maratha community. In response to the unrest, police resorted to lathi charges to disperse the crowds. Subsequently, on the following Saturday, Chief Minister Shinde reaffirmed the state government's unwavering commitment to securing reservations for the Maratha community.

Reflecting on the history of this contentious issue, Shinde remarked, "In November 2014, during the tenure of the coalition government led by then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the government had announced the Maratha reservation. This move was upheld by the High Court, but the Supreme Court later rendered a different verdict. It is widely recognized that this situation arose due to oversight. The Maratha Reservation issue is currently pending in court, and the state government is fully prepared to vigorously defend its stance. While we face certain challenges, the state government is actively working to resolve them."

Back in 2018, the Maharashtra Assembly had passed a bill providing a 16% reservation for the Maratha community. However, the Supreme Court subsequently deemed this Maratha quota law unconstitutional, citing violations of Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (due process of law).

This struggle for Maratha reservation dates back to 1997 when the Maratha Sangh and Maratha Seva Sangh spearheaded the initial major agitation for reservations in government jobs and educational institutions. The demonstrators contended that Marathas, often mistaken as an upper caste, were fundamentally Kunbis, members of the agrarian community.

After a prolonged battle, the Maharashtra legislature eventually passed a bill proposing a 16% reservation in education and government jobs for the Maratha community. This legislation formally designated Marathas as a socially and educationally backward class, as determined by the government.

On June 27, 2019, the High Court upheld the constitutionality of Maratha reservations but recommended a reduction from 16% to 12 to 13%, aligning with the State Backward Classes Commission's suggestions.

However, on May 5, 2021, the Supreme Court declared the Maratha reservation unconstitutional and struck down the associated law.

The upcoming meeting of the Maharashtra Cabinet sub-committee takes place amid heightened tensions and legal complexities surrounding the Maratha reservation issue, with the state government committed to finding a resolution to this long-standing matter. Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving story.

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