Maratha Reservation Illegal, Against The Constitution: Argue Sr Advocates Shreehari Aney, Arvind Datar Before Bombay HC
On the second day of the final hearing in a batch of petitions challenging the 16 percent reservation for the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions, senior advocates Arvind Datar and Shreehari Aney argued on behalf of the petitioners.
While Arvind Datar argued on behalf of petitioner Sanjeet Shukla, former Advocate General of Maharashtra Shrihari Aney is appearing as the counsel for petitioner Uday Govindraj Dhople. Apart from this, there are three other PILs tagged along with this matter, including the one filed by People's Health Organisation, and four intervention applications in support of the said legislation.
Senior Counsel Datar submitted before the bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati Dangre that the said quota for Marathas was in violation of Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and Article 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment) of the Indian Constitution.
"Only the President of India can notify or de-notify a list for backward classes whether at the Central or in the State. So, if the State decided to de-notify a category, the entire process of notification will have to take place again. Article 14 states reservation for any particular community violates class reservation and prohibits class legislation as it is not a natural differentiator," Datar said.
Referring to the 2014 report of a committee headed by the former Chief Minister Narayan Rane regarding a study on reservation for Marathas in education and jobs, Datar said it was illegal. He concluded his submissions and said: "Historically and geographically, Marathas cannot be called backward."
Thereafter, former AG Shrihari Aney began his submissions:
"No one can say I belong to Socially and Economically Backward Class (SEBC) as it is a 'class' and not a 'caste' as it is unknown and alien to the Indian Constitution. I am challenging the constitutional validity of the SEBC and seeking for it to be struck down.
It is because the State has failed to provide adequate education and jobs people want reservation. What is given to the Maratha community is concession and aid, not reservation. It is like a railway ticket. Marathas are an independent and inviable class.
There is exclusive reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, inclusive reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC). Under the new legislation, Marathas are given such a special treatment that nothing can touch them. They could be included in OBC, but Maratha reservation is exclusive reservation which means they would be protected as a separate class, which is not the reason why we have reservation in the first place. We want a homogenous class."
Aney will continue his submissions tomorrow.