New Petition Filed In Bombay HC Challenging Maratha Quota [Read Petition]
A petition challenging the constitutional validity of both The Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 2005, as well as the Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admission in education institutions in the state and for appointments in public services and posts under the state) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (MSEBC) Act, 2018 has been filed in the Bombay High Court.
The MSEBC Act which granted a quota of 16% reservation for Marathas in government employment and state education was passed late last year, thereby increasing the total percentage of reservation in the state from 52% to 68%.
A petition has now been filed by Mr. Sayeed Imtiaz Jaleel, an MLA belonging to the All India Majlis-e-ittihad-ul Muslimeen (AIMM). Apart from challenging the constitutional validity of the two Acts, the petitionit also challenges the State Government's failure to heed to the recommendations provided in the Maharashtra State Minority Commission Report, which was issued in 2011.
Interestingly, this is not the first time a petition has been filed with respect to Maratha reservations. Back in 2014, the Bombay High Court had allowed a PIL challenging a similar provision granting 16% reservation for Marathas and 5 % for Muslims belonging to 52 different communities. The Bombay High Court had stayed this reservation on several grounds, including the fact that it wasn't adequately proven that the Marathas were a backward class, and that this quota would cause the total Maharashtra reservation to overshoot the 50% reservation cap allotted by the Supreme Court, though this was set aside by the Court in 2016.
Some of the central grounds for the present petition are:
- That the Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes Act, 2005 and the MSEBC are ultra vires the newly amended Articles 342A and 338B of the Indian Constitution.
- That the State Legislatures had no authority to enact the MSEBC, and it was therefore violative of Articles 245 and 246 of the Constitution.
- That That the MSBEC is discriminatory and is violative of Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution, as it provides the originally agreed upon 16% to the Marathas, but overlooks the 5% that was to be reserved for Muslims.
The petitioner therefore prays:
- the operation, execution and implementation of the MSEBC Act be stayed pending hearing and disposal of the petition
- the report of the Justice M.G. Gaikwad (Retd.) Commission (Maharashtra State Commission for Backward Classes) be quashed, and a proper investigation and demographic study be conducted to determine correlation between caste and progress factors like education, employment, wealth and social status within a period of one year.
- The Government of Maharashtra be directed to refer to the National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (established under Article 338B of the Constitution) the issue regarding identification of Muslim groups or communities or parts of Muslim communities that might fall under the category of a socially or educationally backward class.
Read the Petition Here