Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], August 5 (ANI): Restoring the state's right to declare the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) is not enough to pave way for Maratha reservation, said Maharashtra Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan adding that the Centre should relax the 50 per cent ceiling on reservations.
Reacting to reports that the Union Cabinet has cleared a bill to make Constitutional amendment to give states and Union Territories SEBC powers, Chavan who heads a Maharashtra cabinet sub-committee on the Maratha quota said the Supreme Court had dismissed Centre's plea to review the majority verdict holding that the 102nd constitution amendment took away the states' powers to declare SEBC for grant of quota in jobs and admissions.
"While rejecting the SEBC quota, the apex court had observed that states lack the power to declare SEBC after the 102nd amendment and that the Maratha quota cannot exceed the 50 per cent ceiling (on reservations). Both these obstacles need to be removed for ensuring Maratha reservation," Chavan said.
Chavan questioned the central government's motives regarding the Maratha reservation and said, "During the Supreme Court hearing on the Maratha reservation case, several states including Maharashtra had agreed to relax the limit. However, the central government has not yet taken a clear stand on the issue yet."
A delegation of the Mahavikas Aghadi government, led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on June 8, 2021, had requested for relaxation of the reservation limit.
"Are the BJP and Central Government interested in maintaining the Maratha Reservation Act passed during the tenure of BJP state government?" he added.
Further, the sub-committee head said the Maratha reservation is not a political issue. "This issue can only be resolved through the coordination of all political parties in Maharashtra and the central and state governments. It's not too late yet. Parliament is in session. While giving rights to the states in this convention, BJP should insist its own central government to relax the 50 per cent reservation limit and to co-operate with the efforts of the Mahavikas Aghadi government," he appealed.
"Relaxing the 50 per cent reservation limit is not only necessary for Maratha reservations; it is also a nationwide question. Today, reservations in most states are above 50 per cent. Due to the verdict in the Maratha reservation case, their reservations are also in danger. If all these reservations are to be kept intact, the central government should relax the reservation limit," he alleged. (ANI)