Maratha reservation bill passed: What does report backing it say?


The Maharashtra Assembly on Tuesday passed a Maratha reservation bill, granting a 10 per cent quota in education and government jobs to the Maratha community. The bill received unanimous approval in both houses during a special assembly session.

This marks the third time in a decade that the Maratha quota bill has been passed by the state government, following its previous nullification by the Supreme Court on May 5, 2021.

The Supreme Court’s decision highlighted the absence of valid grounds to breach the 50 per cent reservation while granting the Maratha quota.

The reservation is based on a report submitted to the state government on February 16, 2024, by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC), chaired by retired Justice Sunil Shukre.

WHAT THE REPORT REVEALS

According to the report, the commission conducted a survey of nearly 2.5 crore families and found that the Maratha community constitutes 28 per cent of the total state population.

The survey also revealed that 21.22 per cent of Maratha families fall below the poverty line, exceeding the state’s average of 17.4 per cent, indicating their economic backwardness.

Statistics on farmer suicides in the state show that 94 per cent of those who commit suicide belong to the Maratha community. The report states that the economic condition of the Maratha community deteriorated due to declining returns from agriculture, fragmentation of holdings, and loss of prestige associated with agriculture.

Based on these findings, the commission recommended that the Maratha community be notified as a socially and educationally backward class under Article 342(C) and Article 366(26C) of the constitution, indicating the need for a separate social component with different and independent percentages from the existing reserved castes.

However, the current percentage of reserved categories in the state stands as follows: SC – 13 per cent, ST – 7 per cent, OBC – 19 per cent, SBC – 2 per cent, VJ (A) – 3 Vimukta Castes, NT (B) – 2.5 – Nomadic caste, NT (C) – 3.5 – Nomadic tribes (Dhangars etc), NT (D) – 2 – Nomadic tribes (second category), and EWS – 10 per cent, totalling 62 per cent.

The enactment of the 10 per cent Maratha quota through this reservation bill will constitute 72 per cent of the total reservation, exceeding the 50 per cent cap in the state.

However, the quota bill is still being opposed by Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil, who is on hunger strike, demanding reservation from the Other Backward Class (OBC) category, anticipating a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

Published By:

Aditi Sharma

Published On:

Feb 21, 2024



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