HC refuses interim stay on quota Bill

The Pioneer

In a relief to the Maharashtra Government, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to grant an interim stay on its new legislation granting 16 per cent reservations in education and Government jobs to the Maratha community. Two days after Advocate Gunaratna Sadavarte filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on behalf of his client Jayashree Patil, a member of the Indian Constitutionalist Council (ICI) challenging the new Maratha Reservations Act, a HC bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice MS Karnik briefly heard the petitioner and the state government, before adjourning the petition for a detailed hearing on December 10. While refusing to order an interim stay on the new Maratha Reservations Act, the HC agreed to grant a detailed hearing on all pending petitions on Maratha reservations on December 10. The PIL, filed by Sadavarte, says that the new Maratha Reservations - better known as the Maharashtra State (of seats for admission in educational institutions in the state and for appointments in the public services and posts under the state) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018 - is in violation of the 50 per cent cap imposed by the Supreme Court on reservations. Among other things, the petition States that the Maratha community - the Kunbi-Marathas - have already been given a reservation under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category and the additional reservations will only create a class within a class, affecting those who do not belong to any reserved category. Opposing a stay on the new Maratha Reservation Act sought by Sadavarte, State's counsel VA Thorat told the court that the petitioner could not seek a stay on the state legislation through a PIL. In his argument, Thorat said that most of the pending petitions pending in the high court opposed the Maratha quota on the basis of the 2014 Act that provided for reservation to those belonging to socially backward communities in the State. However, the 2014 Act now stood repealed and the state legislature had recently ratified the new Maratha Reservation Act to cover the issue of quota for the community. "The new legislation takes care of all legal grievances that existed in the 2014 Act," Thorat told the HC bench. After hearing both sides, the HC bench decided to combine together all the pending petitions on the issue of Maratha reservation and hear them collectively on the next date.