Bombay HC stays 5% reservation for Muslims in jobs, allows in govt educational institutions

November 15, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Muslim reservationMumbai, November 14, 2014: Bombay High Court on Friday stayed Maharashtra government’s decision to give 16% reservation to Marathas in public service and educational institutions. The court also stayed reservations to the Muslims in public service but allowed 5% reservation to the same community in educational institutions.

The HC bench headed by chief justice Mohit Shah was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) filed against the reservation on the ground that they were not constitutional.

The matter would be now heard again in January 2015.

On June 25, 2014 eyeing the state assembly elections, previous Congress-NCP government had approved 16% reservation for Marathas and 5% for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions. Soon after the declaration of reservation by state, PILs challenging reservation for the two communities were filed by social activist Ketan Tirodkar, Anil Thanekar, I S Gilada of Indian Health Organization and others.

The HC had admitted all the petitions and issued notice to the Advocate General. Former journalist and activist Ketan Tirodkar argued that Marathas are not a caste but a linguistic group and asserted Marathas are a dominant community, not a backward one. The petition also argued that the decision violated a Supreme Court order that had made it clear that reservations could not cross 50 per cent.

The government, on the other hand defended its decision on reservation to Marathas and Muslims contending that the two communities were socio-educationally backward and also economically poor.

It said the decision was based on the report of a Committee headed by former minister Narayan Rane set up to look into the Maratha community status in Maharashtra and recommendations of Rajinder Sachar Committee and Mahmoodur Rahman Committee. Both these committees had recommended reservation for Muslims.

The court was of the view that the comparative data provided by the government justified its decision to introduce reservation for Muslims in government educational institutions it excluded private educational bodies from the purview of reservations for the minority community.

Political blame-game

“This government did not present the case in a proper manner in the High Court,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said to DNA. “The ruling highlights the failure on part of the new regime to protect the quota decision of the Congress-NCP government,” he added.

While Shiv Sena sought an explanation from the BJP for its failure to defend quota to Marathas, it raised questioned the Minority ministry of state for its proper representation of Muslims case before the court as the government could convince educational backwardness of Muslims in the state.

“The picture now is that the reservation was brought only for the sake of Muslims. Minorities Affairs minister Eknath Khadse should tell people what kind of discrepancies remained in convincing the court of the government’s commitment to provide quota for Marathas,” Sena leader Diwakar Raote said to DNA.

Meanwhile, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has indicated that his government will challenge the HC order before the Supreme Court. “The state government is fully supportive of the quota for the Marathas. We will approach the Supreme Court against the HC ruling. We will take measures to ensure that the quota remains,” Fadnavis told reporters here.

If there appears any lacuna in law for providing reservation to Maratha then the government will do necessary amendments during the winter session of the State Legislature at Nagpur that starts from December 8, he said.

– tcn

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