The Supreme Court has stuck down the Maratha reservation given to the Maratha community in education and employment sector citing unconstitutionality.
Background Maratha reservation
The State assembly and council had unanimously passed the reservation bill in 2018 after years of demand by the community.
- The issue of reservation came to forefront in 2016 in Aurangabad under the banner of Maratha Kranti Morcha.
- The community held series of mass but silent rallies across the state demanding reservation for them in government jobs and educational institutions.
- During the second phase of protests people began committing suicide to gain attention. It was decided not to settle for anything less than reservation.
Justice Gaikwad commission
- The state government set up an 11 member commission under the chairmanship of Retired Justice N G Gaikwad to study the reservation issue and give suggestions.
- After a series of studies and detailed meeting, the commission suggested the government to give reservation under Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC).
- The commission only recommended reservation but did not specify the percentage of the quota. It was left to the state government to determine.
- The government brought a new legislation named Maharashtra State Socially and Educational Backward Act and reservation was given sanction under Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission.
- The act was challenged by a PIL in Bombay High Court and the court ordered to reduce it to 12 per cent in education and 13 per cent in jobs from recommended 16 percent.
- The Supreme Court put a stay on the implementation of the act and requested for a larger constitutional bench for studying.
- The subsequent large five-member bench has delivered the verdict saying that the act was unconstitutional and be scrapped. People already availing it will be unaffected.
- The Marathas are influential in Maharashtra politics. There is however divide among rich and poor sections of the same community.
- The reservation had created sharp divide between Marathas and OBCs, which is set to sharpen further post the decision.
The current reservation structure
- The reservation of 12 and 13 per cent for Marathas had pushed the quota ceiling to 62 and 65 percent respectively.
- The current reservation without Maratha quota stands at 10 percent with Scheduled Castes 13%, Special Backward Category 2%, Scheduled Tribes 7%, OBC 19%, Vimukta Jati 3%, Nomadic Tribes C Dhangar 3.5%, Nomadic tribe D Vanjari 2%, Nomadic Tribes B 2.5%.
Reasons for striking down
There are no clear reasons for striking down the quota even after a detailed study was conducted but the Court has said the quota violates constitution.