SC strikes down Maratha reservation

The Supreme Court of India recently struck down Maratha reservation in the state as it breaches 50% ceiling of reservation. This was done by striking down the Maharashtra law that guaranteed reservation for the Maratha community their quota in employment and public education.

Inception

In 2016, several Marathas came together under the “Maratha Kranti Morcha”. They joined hands to protest the rape and killing of a fifteen-year-old girl in Kopardi village, Ahmednagar. Though Kopardi incident was a trigger, it was later centred on reservation for the Maratha community in educational institutions and government jobs. In 2017, silent, massive rallies were held that consolidated more and more Marathas towards this cause. They also demanded for loan waiver to farmers, justice for the Kopardi girl.

In 2018, street protests turned violent. Some even committed suicides. “Ek Maratha Lakh Maratha” was their slogan.

M G Gaikwad Commission

The then CM Fadnavis (BJP) set a eleven member commission under retired justice N G Gaikwad. The commission recommended that the Marathas should be given reservation as it was a Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC). The commission did not specify quota percentage. It was left to the State Government to decide upon.

Reservation provided

In 2018, the State Government of Maharashtra provided reservation to the Marathas under the Maharashtra Socially and Educationally Backward Act. The act was approved in both the assembly and the council.

Reservation challenged in High Court

A Public Interest Litigation challenged the reservation under SEBC in Bombay High Court. The High Court upheld the reservation and pronounced that the reservation should be 12% in education and 13% in jobs instead of 16%.

Impact on Socio-Political Order

Marathas constitute 32% of population of Maharashtra. They are a major political force in Maharashtra. The SC’s order is to deepen the divide between OBCs and Marathas that was created by reservation politics.

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