Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has dropped a hint that the Maratha community will get reservation in jobs and education on December 1.
Speaking at a rally today, Fadnavis said that people who are preparing for demonstrations to demand reservations for the community should instead prepare for celebrations on Dec 1.
“Some say we will protest on the 26th.. Why are you protesting? The government is going to take a decision and you should celebrate on Dec 1,” Fadnavis said, adding that the government has always lent a sympathetic ear to the demand and no other organization should claim credit for the reservation.
The comment came in the wake of a report by Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission that reportedly favored the extension of reservation benefits to the Marathas by including them in the ‘Other Backward Classes’ category.
Any community can be given reservations if it is found that it doesn’t have proportionate representation in government jobs and institutions of higher education in a state.
At present, Other Backward Classes have been given reservation to the extent of 27% of the total seats.
OBCs typically constitute about 45% of the population in most states in India, and the 27% quota is often considered too small for the existing classes covered by the OBC classification.
As a result, any decision to include Marathas — who comprise about 30% of the state’s population — in the existing OBC category without increasing the proportion of seats reserved for the OBC is likely to invite massive counter protests from existing OBC groups such as Malis.
On the other hand, any attempt to increase the share of seats reserved for OBCs from 27% too would invite judicial review. The courts have repeatedly struck down attempts by state governments to set apart more seats under reserved category.
At present about 50% of the seats are reserved for scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and OBC.
The courts feel that allocating more than 50% of the seats to reserved categories would impact the quality of the service for which recruitment is being made.
Marathas, who are mostly farmers, have been fighting for reservations for several years, and have conducted several massive rallies in the state over this time.