Govt to seek legal opinion before tabling report on Maratha quota
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Tuesday said that a decision on tabling the State Backward Class Commission's report on the Maratha quota in the state Assembly will be taken after seeking a legal opinion on it.
The government also said it was committed to provide reservation to the Dhangar (shepherd) community under the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category.
Noisy scenes were witnessed in the Assembly on the second day of the Winter Session with the opposition Congress and NCP members lifting the speaker's mace and tearing papers while demanding that the commission's report be tabled in the Lower House.
They also criticised the BJP-led government over the drought situation in the state, alleging that it was not handled properly.
The din led to the House being adjourned four times.
Amid the noisy scenes, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said the state Cabinet has accepted the commission's recommendations on the Maratha quota of forming a special category of 'Socially and Economically Backward Class'.
"We will check whether the recommendations, if challenged, will stand legal scrutiny and then decide on whether to table the report in the House," he said.
He said a Cabinet sub-committee already set up for the implementation of the Maratha quota will take a legal opinion on whether the commission's report can be tabled in the Legislature.
"The commission has recognised the Maratha community as socially, economically and educationally backward. Since the situation is extraordinary, the limit of reservation can be beyond 52 per cent," he said, adding the government would ensure that the reservation stands in court.
The Maharashtra government Sunday announced the Maratha community will be granted quota under a new category called 'Socially and Educationally Backward Class' (SEBC), as per the recommendation of the State Backward Class Commission.
The government is yet to decide the quantum of reservation, though the Marathas are seeking 16 per cent quota.
Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil demanded that the commission's report be immediately tabled in the House for clarity on it.
The Congress leader asked whether the Maratha quota under the new category will be within the existing 52 per cent reservation in the state or over and above that limit.
Later, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar said there was no need to table the report in the House without checking if it can be challenged in court.
He suggested that a committee of leaders from various parties be formed to discuss the commission's report to ensure it stands legal scrutiny.
A section of society wishes that the report is challenged in court, Pawar claimed.
He said the Maratha quota should be granted without impacting the existing 52 per cent reservation in the state.
He also said that due to the delay, there is a fear among the OBCs that Marathas would be given reservation from their quota.
Vikhe Patil supported Pawar's demand for a committee to discuss the backward class commission's report.