Mumbai: The Maharashtra Government unanimously passed the Maratha Reservation Bill in the State Assembly on Thursday. The Bill has now gone to the Upper House.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had tabled the Maratha Reservation Bill in the State Assembly. The Bill proposed 16 percent reservation for members of the Maratha community in jobs and admissions in government institutions, under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of Citizens (SEBC).
“I thank all the parties including Shivsena, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Samajwadi Party (SP), All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Shetkari Kamgat Paksh (SKP), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and all that everyone has supported this Bill unanimously. I propose this Bill for discussion and request everyone to support it,” Fadnavis said while tabling the Bill. He also highlighted various aspects of the Bill at the time of tabling. The Bill got overwhelming support from all political parties and it was passed immediately without having a debate on it.
Congress’ Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Leader of Opposition, responded by saying: “I announce that we support this Bill.” Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and leader of opposition Ajit Pawar
said: “I announce that we also support this Bill too. And I request everyone to unanimously pass it.” Shetkari Kamgat Paksh leader Ganpati Rao Deshmukh also supported the Bill.
The state government proposed the reservation on the basis of the Backward Commission report. The reservation is proposed under Article 15 (4) (5) and 16 (4) of the Constitution of India as the Government of Maharashtra has concluded from the Backward Class Commission report that Maratha is a socially and educationally backward
Before tabling the Maratha Reservation Bill, the Chief Minister and other senior ministers visited the Shivaji Maharaj statue in the Assembly premises and took blessings. Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray was also present in the Assembly premises.
In the Assembly, the government rejected the demand of 30 percent reservation by some people of the Maratha community. The State Government also proposed that there would be no changes in the present structure of existing reservations in the state.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the state assembly: “We have completed the due procedure for Maratha reservation report and we are bringing a bill today. But for Dhangar reservation, we have not completed the report, a sub-committee is appointed and soon a report and ATR (Action Taken Report) will be tabled in this house.”
Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had issued whips to their respective members directing them to be present in their respective houses- legislative assembly and legislative council- in view of the tabling of the Maratha Reservation Bill.
On November 18, the Maharashtra government had approved the Maratha Reservation Bill, for which the community has been protesting since 2017.
Fadnavis had on earlier occasion said that as per the recommendation of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission, the state government will give independent reservation to the people belonging to the Maratha community under a category called SEBC.
The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission had submitted its report in the matter to Chief Secretary D K Jain on November 15. It had suggested a 16 percent reservation for the Maratha community, stating that the community is socially and economically backward. The Maratha community accounts for 33 percent of the state’s total population.
In August this year, around 194 people were detained for alleged rioting and arson after a protest seeking reservations for the Maratha community turned violent.
In 2014, the then Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government had announced 16 percent reservation for Marathas and five percent reservation for the Muslims. However, the Bombay High Court stayed the decision in response to a PIL.