How do you see the recent passage of Maratha Quota in Maharashtra by the Bombay High Court? Will this have a countrywide implication. Examine.
The decision of the Maharashtra Government to grant quota to Marathas in education and employment has been upheld by the Bombay High Court. It was convinced that Marathas which form a dominant community in the state are educationally backward. This takes the reservation in Maharashtra to a figure of 65 per cent. This is 15 per cent higher than the permissible limits imposed by the Supreme Court of India especially after the Indra Sawhney judgement in 1992. HC has justified its judgement on the basis of exceptional circumstances and legislative competence of the government of the state to enact the SEBC Act, 2018.
The law is slated to have widespread implications for the OBC reservation system in the country. The demand of such quotas has come from many parts of the country like the Jats in Haryana, Kapus in Andhra Pradesh and the Patidars in Gujarat, etc. All these are socially powerful communities in their respective states but are demanding quotas on a similar line of Marathas. The governments should be able to recognize the fact that these dominant, politically powerful and numerically strong socially dominant castes generally put forward this demand for quotas for advancing their economic interests.
The judgment will thus mobilise such caste advocates to press their case against the state governments. This adds to pressure on the governments. There is nothing radical about this approach as it is far away from the constitutionally-mandated policy and purpose of caste reservation.
State governments often give in to the caste demands as it helps to calm the restive communities. Latter have become insecure due to fall in agrarian incomes, absence of job security and social security and shrinking opportunities in higher education. Approving quotas is only a temporary solution for addressing the growing insecurities in the government. The government should check and plug in the larger structural issues of society.