The Bombay High Court on Monday reprimanded the Maharashtra government for rushing to give an advertisement for Maharashtra Public Service Commission jobs under the Maratha quota as petitions challenging the validity of the said legislation is still being heard before the high court.
A division bench of Chief Justice NH Patil and Justice MS Karnik, which is hearing a batch of petitions clubbed together regarding the said legislation, questioned the state as to why was there such a rush to issue an advertisement at this stage.
While some of the petitions challenge the said legislation providing 16% reservation to the Maratha community, some have been filed in support of it.
Advocate Gunratan Sadavarte appears for Dr. Jayashree Patil, who is also an advocate and the main petitioner in the case. He informed the bench that an advertisement inviting applications for jobs has already been issued by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission under the newly-introduced Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) for the Maratha community.
Sadavarte also submitted that by providing 16% reservation to the Marathas, the state is crossing the 50% ceiling for reservation as decided by the Supreme Court, leaving only 32% for the open category in educational institutions and government jobs.
Appearing on behalf of the state, Senior Advocate VA Thorat submitted that for now only advertisement has been issued and the process will take at least six months to be completed.
“This is a serious matter involving the sentiments of millions of people, both for and against the reservation. Such irreverent situations should be avoided and the state should give Courts some breathing space to hear the petitions,” CJ Patil said.
Former Advocate General and Senior Advocate Shrihari Aney appeared on behalf of one of the petitioners opposing the legislation and said that creation of a separate category for Marathas called SEBC cannot be justified as the Constitution has only recognized SC, ST and OBC as the different categories for providing reservation.
Aney argued that the general public should be made aware of the contents of the State Backward Class Commission report that recommended the reservation in the first place.
The court then asked the state to take instructions as to whether the report can be made public. The matter was adjourned to December 19.
Once the hearing concluded, Advocate Gunratan Sadavarte was outside speaking to the media when a mob chanting “Ek Maratha Lakh Maratha” surrounded him and a man assaulted him physically. The police immediately apprehended the man who assaulted Sadavarte. He has been identified as Vaijnath Patil from Jalna district.
Then, Sadavarte headed back to the first Court and narrated the ordeal. He said he had received 1,000 threat calls since he took up the case. He also said people, through these phone calls, also threatened to harm his daughter.
“I feel insecure. I get calls where I am being told that I am going against the Brahmins and that I belong to the scheduled class,” Sadavarte said.
The court summoned Advocate General AA Kumbhakoni after hearing all this. AG Kumbhakoni expressed his disapproval of the incident and assured the court that security will be provided to Sadavarte the moment he stepped out of court.