On Friday's hearing in the batch of petitions challenging the 16 percent reservation for the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions, Advocate Pradeep Sancheti argued on behalf of Sanjeet Shukla, one of the petitioners in the case.
Uday Govindraj Dhople is another petitioner in the case, apart from this, there are three other PILs tagged along in this matter, including the one filed by People's Health Organisation, and four intervention applications in support of the said legislation.
Sancheti submitted before the bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati Dangre that there were five 'expert institutes' that had been appointed by the State Backward Classes Commission to conduct a survey on the educational and economic backwardness of the Maratha community in western Maharashtra, Konkan, Marathwada, Vidarbha and north Maharashtra regions.
The institutes were namely, Sharda Academy, Gokhale institute, Rambhau Mhalgi Probodhini, Shivaji Academy and Gurukrupa Sanstha. Out of these, three are politically connected, Sancheti alleged. Further, he argued that these institutes did not possess the technical expertise to conduct such a survey and no survey was conducted in Mumbai even though 20 per cent of Maratha community lives in Mumbai.
"The State has carried out no background checks before appointing these institutes. None of these institutes had any prior experience of conducting such a large-scale survey. They had conducted a survey of 43000 families covering around 2 lakh people, which is not even 0.2 per cent of the total population"
Sancheti went on to say that the Narayan Rane Committee report that had conducted of about 4.5 lakh people was erroneous and cannot be relied upon.
Appearing on behalf of the State, Advocate VM Thorat strongly argued against Sancheti's submissions and questioned whether the petitioners were insinuating that the Commission was biased.
The hearing will continue on Monday.