Mumbai: The Maharashtra government Monday told the Bombay High Court that its decision of granting reservation to the Maratha community was legal and valid.
The government concluded its arguments before a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre, which is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the quota decision. On November 30 last year, the Maharashtra Legislature passed a bill proposing 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas, declared socially and educationally backward class by the government. "The quantum of reservation granted to the Maratha community is valid and legal and the petitioners have failed to make out a case to show that the government's decision was malafide and dishonest," government counsel Anil Sakhare argued Monday. The petitioners, in their pleas challenging the quota, had said that no state government could exceed the 50 per cent mark in reservations. At present, the percentage of reservation in Maharashtra stands at 68 per cent.
Sakhare told the court on Monday that as per the government, the Maratha community was socially and educationally backward and hence it decided to grant them reservation. "The government felt this was a special and extraordinary situation and hence we should be permitted to exceed the 50 per cent mark," Sakhare said.
The bench had last week questioned as to why the Maratha community could not be included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and what was the need to create a special category of Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) for the Maratha community. Sakhare told the court on Monday that the government did not include the Maratha community in the OBC category so as to avoid any repercussions in the state. The court will hear the petitioners' advocates on Tuesday.