More than two months after a three-judge Supreme Court (SC) bench put an interim stay on the reservations for Marathas in government jobs and school admissions, the community members have started a movement to plead the top court for the vacation of the stay by sending 1 lakh postal petitions.
The community has been agitating after the bench stayed the implementation of the reservation and transferred the petition to a constitutional bench on September 9.
The Maratha community was granted 12% reservations in employment and 13% in admissions two years ago under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018.
Owing to the stay by the Apex court on the implementation of the reservations, the junior college and medical course admissions in the state have been stalled. The Maharashtra government has requested the Chief Justice of India, through four applications in the past six weeks, to form a constitution bench to hear the reservation petition at the earliest.
The 18-page petition by the community members states that the SC bench set aside the Bombay high court decision (HC), permitting the implementation of the reservations, without going into the factual aspects of the matter.
“The reservation has been stayed without giving an opportunity of hearing to the members of the aggrieved SEBC category. The reservation to the Marathas has been stayed when there is 42% reservation given for 43% population, which excluding the reservation for SC (Scheduled Castes)/ST (Scheduled Tribes) and SEBC, is 62% reservation in the state. The 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019, has nullified the limit of 50% reservation and the existing reservations have been protected till the date of enactment. This means the reservation to Marathas, which was in existence by then, has been protected,” their petition stated.
It further read that the reservation to Marathas was given in an extraordinary and exceptional situation and the HC had justified it under three grounds.
“The situation arises because of an erroneous exclusion of Marathas for seven decades. Secondly, the reservation was given on the basis of the quantifiable data and recommendations by the state backward classes commission. The extraordinary situation has also arisen as 85% of the state population is backward,” the petition read, while quoting the HC order given last year.
Balasaheb Sarate, a community leader who is a part of the movement, said, “The petition covers all the factual aspects, legal points and substantial questions of law for the attention of all the judges. Till date, more than 5,000 applications have been sent through registered post and email and the number is expected to reach 25,000 in a week. More than 2,500 community members have signed the online petition. In the first phase, at least one lakh applications will be submitted under our ‘One family, One Application’ drive. The community had submitted about 2 lakh memorandums to the state backward classes commission in 2018 as part of the collection of the quantifiable data. This movement too will get similar support.”