16 per cent reservation to Marathas cleared

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. PTI File Photo 

After a struggle of nearly three decades, the politically-dominant Maratha community in Maharashtra on Thursday got 16 per cent reservation in jobs and education.

The pre-2019 poll development would give an edge to the BJP-Shiv Sena ruling alliance over Opposition combine of Congress-NCP.

Besides, it would have a political bearing as in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Patidars and Gujjars, respectively, are demanding reservation.

The Marathas account for nearly 33 per cent of the total 11.25 crore population of Maharashtra. 

Thus Maharashtra would have a 68 per cent quota - next only to Tamil Nadu that has 69 per cent.

This is above the 50 per cent cap on reservation mandated by the Supreme Court.

The Maharashtra Legislature on Thursday cleared a bill - unanimously and without discussion - providing for 16 per cent reservation - over and above the current 52 per cent.

While Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tabled the bill in Assembly, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil tabled it in Council.

Both the Houses cleared the bill unanimously.

Before that, the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the report of the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission (MSBCC) was tabled.

"We have shown that we are together...I thank all members, leaders, parties for passing the bill unanimously," Fadnavis said.

To provide reservation, the Government created a special category of Socially & Economically Backward Class (SEBC) - to give a strong legal ground.

As of now of the 52 per cent reservation - 13 and 7 per cent are reserved for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes respectively while OBCs have 19 per cent reservation. The rest 13 per cent is reserved for Nomadic Tribes, Denotified Tribes and Other Backward Class.
 

Celebrations in Vidhan Bhavan, elsewhere

Slogans like 'Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jai', 'Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' rent the air in the Vidhan Bhavan complex as Marathas got a reservation after a long struggle. Legislators of BJP and Shiv Sena were seen in saffron phetas (headgear) and were seen distributing sweets. Outside the BJP office, there were grand celebrations. 

Govt,  Oppn should not take credit: Maratha body

The Maratha Kranti Morcha said that the Government or Opposition should not take credit as it is the victory of the community. "Its our victory,  its people's victory.... the politicians,  the Government and Opposition need not claim and take credit," Maratha Kranti Morcha leader Virendra Pawar stated.  "It is now the duty of the Maharashtra Legislature to ensure that it does not face any legal issues,  the Assembly has cleared it,  the Council has cleared it,  the law should not face any issues now," he said at the historic Azad Maidan. Activists of the Maratha Kranti Morcha are also demanding that the bill will be sent to Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao,  so that he signs it into a law,  as early as possible. 

Cong govt plan implemented: Ashok Chavan

Trying to score a victory,  former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said that the Congress-led Government's decision to grant reservation to Marathas is implemented. "Our government granted reservation to the Marathas.  It was challenged in the Bombay High Court. The BJP-Sena dispensation delayed the formation of Commission and legal formalities," he said, adding that because of the delay,  Marathas had to come to the streets. 

Maratha Reservation- Timeline

February 2014: A committee headed by veteran leader Narayan Rane submits a report to the government recommending reservation to Marathas 

25 June 2014: The Congress-NCP Democratic Front government, then headed by Prithviraj Chavan, approves a proposal to reserve 16% of government jobs and seats in educational institutions for Marathas and 5% for Muslims.

14 November 2014: Bombay High Court stays the decision of the previous Democratic Front government to provide 16 per cent reservations to Marathas in government jobs and educational institutions. 

15 November 2014: BJP-Sena government led by Devendra Fadnavis decides to move Supreme Court 

18 December 2014: Supreme Court  refuses to vacate the Bombay High Court's interim order staying reservation for Maratha in jobs

13 July 2016: Rape and murder of a Maratha girl at Kopardi in Ahmednagar district that fuels the demand of rights of the community 

9 August 2016: First Maratha Kranti Morcha held in Aurangabad

5 December 2016: Maharashtra government files an affidavit to justify the reservation for Marathas as legal and that it did not violate constitutional provisions.

14 December 2016: Maratha morcha held in Nagpur when the winter session of Maharashtra legislature was in progress

9 August 2017: Massive Maratha morcha held in Mumbai

23 July 2018: Youth jumps into Godavari river in Aurangabad to demand reservation to Maratha community 

5 August 2018: Fadnavis says that government committed to the reservation to Maratha, however, the matter is pending before Bombay High Court 

10 August 2018: Protests across Maharashtra called off after an assurance by Fadnavis that government committed to reservation 

15 November 2018: Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission submits a report to the government

18 November 2018: Government decides to create a special category of Socially and Economically Backward Class for reservation to Marathas

29 November 2018: Maharashtra legislature clears 16 per cent reservation to Marathas. 

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