Maratha quota law challenged in high court
Lawyer-activist files PIL calling quota unconstitutional as it exceeds ceiling of 50%
Within two days of the law granting the Maratha community a 16 per cent quota in jobs and education in Maharashtra coming into force, it has been challenged in the Bombay High Court. The challenge came on Monday through a public interest litigation (PIL) by Dr Gunaratna Sadavarte, who also a lawyer/activist. The PIL has been registered but not mentioned before the bench.
Sadavarte's primary contention is that the Maratha quota is unconstitutional because it exceeds the legal ceiling of 50 per cent. The lawyer had also written to the Maharashtra governor, making an appeal that the law passed on November 29 should not be ratified. However, the law has been signed and published in the state gazette on November 30. Sensing trouble in the courts, the Maharashtra government had filed a caveat in the Supreme Court.
A Maratha activist, Vinod Patil, had filed a similar caveat in the Bombay High Court on Saturday itself. Thus the two parties — a private citizen and the government — have ensured that the court does not proceed without seeking their response or giving them a chance to defend the law.
A law with similar provisions but without the backing of Backward Class Commission's report was stayed by the Bombay High Court four years ago. The BJP government revived the law by supporting it with quantifiable data by the commission, which established that the situation was extraordinary and hence needed to be handled with extraordinary measures, such as putting Marathas in a separate category, taking the overall reservation beyond 50 per cent.
Sources in the government said the administration was prepared to present its case with clinical precision in court. "As we had been expecting a PIL or two, we have been preparing ourselves to counter it. Prominent lawyers will be roped in, if need be," said a senior minister.
Uddhav all praise for chief minister
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has publically congratulated CM Devendra Fadnavis on the Maratha quota law. Uddhav was sharing the dais with the head of state in Washim on Monday. Fadnavis reciprocated by saying that Uddhav was his guide who advised him from time to time on matters of governance and policy.
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