March 20, 2023

Mumbai: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday (June 8) to discuss various issues like Maratha and OBC reservation, and Cyclone Tauktae relief measures.

The meeting is taking place over a month after the Supreme Court squashed a 2018 law providing reservation to the Maratha community in jobs and education in Maharashtra.

The state Home Minister, Dilip Walse Patil, told reporters on Monday, “A delegation of Maharashtra government led by CM Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar will meet Prime Minister Modi in Delhi tomorrow (June 8). They will discuss issues like Maratha reservation, Other backward classes (OBC) reservation and Cyclone Tauktae relief.”

Last month, Uddhav Thackeray wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to take steps to declare the Maratha community in the state as Socially and Educationally Backward (SEBC) to enable them to claim the reservation in education and public employment at least to 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

“The Judgement delivered by the Constitution Bench (comprising of five Judges) of the Supreme Court on May 5, 2021, has given me this occasion to write to you with the earnest request that appropriate steps be taken at the earliest to grant reservation to the Maratha community from my State, albeit in accordance with the law, to the minimum extent of 12 per cent in Education and 13 per cent in Public Employment,” the Maharashtra Chief Minister had written.

A state government constituted committee, headed by Justice (retd) Dilip Bhosale, studied the SC judgement and recommended filing a review petition.

The law passed by the state legislature on November 30, 2018, gave 16 per cent quota in jobs and education to the community.
Upholding the law, the Bombay High Court reduced the quantum of the quota to 12 per cent in education and 13 per cent in government jobs.

The state government is of the opinion that the 10 per cent EWS quota law, enacted by the Centre, also breaches the 50 per cent ceiling set by the Supreme Court.

In its editorial on May 31, Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana had said that the battle for the Maratha reservation will be fought in Delhi, adding “The collision will prove to be decisive. To destabilize the politics of Maharashtra, the opposition will use the issue of the Maratha reservation as a weapon, then they will have to stop it in time.”

Referring to the Supreme Court`s observation, the editorial said that only the Central government has the right to make such law regarding the reservation. 

On May 5 this year, the Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and Ravindra Bhat had struck down the reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the Maratha community brought in by the Maharashtra government in 2018, saying it exceeded the 50 per cent cap imposed earlier.

The Constitution Bench said that people from the Maratha community cannot be declared as educationally and socially backward community to bring them within the reserved category. 

Meanwhile, CM Thackeray will also discuss Cyclone Tauktae, which stands to be the strongest storm to impact Gujarat since 1998, battering parts of the state and left behind a trail of destruction along the coast. 

The Cyclone Tauktae affected states, including Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and the UTs of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, according to the India Meteorological Department. 

(With PTI/ANI Inputs)

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