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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Maratha quota: Maharashtra govt to issue new order

However, in June this year, another bench of the high court upheld the state's decision to grant reservation to the Maratha community.

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Government on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that it will come up with a new order to address the objections of some of its employees on the retrospective implementation of the Maratha reservation law.

The state’s counsel, Akshay Shinde, told the court that a new Government Resolution (GR) in this regard is likely to be issued after three weeks.

He told a bench of justices Ranjit More and N J Jamadar that in the meanwhile, the state will not terminate the services of any open category employees affected by such retrospective implementation of the Maratha reservation.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by a group of Maharashtra Government employees challenging a July 11 GR over retrospective implementation of the quota.

The petitioners, led by Sunita Nagane, an employee of the Maharashtra Zila Parishad District Services, have urged the court to quash the GR that makes way for terminating services of some open category employees to accommodate those eligible for jobs in the department under the Maratha quota.

The dispute relates to two orders passed by the court in 2015 and 2019 over the implementation of the quota.

In 2015, the then chief justice of the Bombay High Court, Mohit Shah, stayed the state’s proposal to grant 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and education.

Justice Shah had said at the time that there would be no separate reservation in public employment for Marathas even if the state Government proved the community was educationally and socially backward.

He then directed the state not to keep 16 per cent Government posts vacant for the community.

Accordingly, the state filled up the reserved seats by employing people from the open category.

However, in June this year, another bench of the high court upheld the state’s decision to grant reservation to the Maratha community.

The Maratha quota law was passed by both Houses of the State Legislature in November 2018.

The bench, however, said the 16 per cent reservation was a bit much and the state reduced the same to 12 per cent in jobs and 14 per cent in education.

Earlier this month, the state issued the GR that mandated that the reservation be implemented retrospectively.

Therefore, services of those from the open category, who were employed between 2015 and June 2019 on seats meant for the Maratha community, will have to be terminated, according to the GR.

According to petitioner Nagane, following the GR, the state also issued directions to the chief of her department to terminate the services of such employees, including hers, with immediate effect.

The petitioners’ counsels, Ramesh Badi and C M Lokesh, had last month told another bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre that a total of 2,700 open category state government employees across various departments were likely to be affected by the GR.

On Tuesday, the court noted that the Supreme Court had ruled against retrospective implementation of the Maratha quota and asked how the state had issued the July GR.

Following the query, the state submitted that it was working on a new GR to resolve all issues and needed three weeks time.

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