Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking that the Marathas be allowed reservation in jobs and education through inclusion into the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes or SEBC. His request follows the Supreme Court’s order that struck down the quota last week, calling it “unconstitutional”. The five-judge bench had pointed out that the 2018 law that allowed quota for Marathas had pushed reservation over the current 50 per cent cap.
Reservation was given to Marathas in 2018 by the state’s erstwhile government led by the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis.
Calling the court’s decision “unfortunate”, Mr Thackeray had said the battle was “not lost yet” and assured that he would appeal to the Centre to ensure quota for the Marathas.
“The Supreme Court said it is not your right to take this decision. So now what? The Supreme Court has shown us the way, by saying this is the right is of the Centre and the President,” he said.
In his letter today, Mr Thackeray requested that “appropriate steps be taken, albeit in accordance to the law, declared by the Supreme Court to identify and declare the Maratha community of my state as SEBC to enable them to claim the reservation in Education and Public Employment, at least to the extent of 12% and 13% respectively”.
In his public address on Wednesday, Mr Thackeray had appealed to the Prime Minister, saying, “The way you showed courage and removed Article 370, and previously in the Shah Bano case… So Prime Minister it is your right. You should help us”.
The Centre had supported Maratha quota when the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis government allowed it to the politically influential community after their escalating protests. The Centre had maintained that states can grant reservation and their decision is constitutional.
The Bombay High Court had upheld the Maratha quota too, but its decision was put on hold by the Supreme Court last year.