the implementation of 16% Maratha quota left a meagre 5 % for candidates vying medical admission on merit basis.
Mumbai: In a recent hearing on Maratha Quota in the Bombay High Court, the Maharashtra government told the bench that its decision of granting 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community was legal and valid.
The Maratha quota reservation applies to all educational institutions including medical colleges. At present, in Maharashtra, 50 % of medical seats in government-run medical colleges are for reserved category (SC/ST/OBC/ VJNT). Out of the other 50% which is known as the open category; 14% seats go to Persons with Disability (PwD), defence and other quotas. There is also a special quota (depending on eligible candidates) for students from the reserved categories who are eligible for an open quota seat based on their scores, ranging from 3%-5%.
In addition, with the earlier announcement that educational institutions will offer the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota in the general category, 10% has been fixed for medical students related to EWS category.
On November 30 last year, the Maharashtra Legislature passed a bill proposing 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas, declared socially and educationally backward class by the government.
Further, the implementation of 16% Maratha quota was done which left a meagre 5 % for candidates vying medical admission on merit basis.
This “policy” indeed created a stir in the admission process. The medical students, who can only take admission via merit are anxious since there is, evidently, tough competition in medical admissions and with over 16 % quota gulping over the merit quota, the competition has become tougher than ever.
The petitioners, in their pleas challenging the quota, had said that no state government could exceed the 50 per cent mark in reservations. At present, the percentage of reservation in Maharashtra stands at 68 per cent.
Now during the recent hearing, the government concluded its arguments before a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre, which is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the quota decision. The state termed its decision of granting 16 percent reservation to Maratha community as valid and legal.
“The quantum of reservation granted to the Maratha community is valid and legal and the petitioners have failed to make out a case to show that the government’s decision was malafide and dishonest,” government counsel Anil Sakhare argued Monday.
Sakhare told the court on Monday that as per the government, the Maratha community was socially and educationally backwards and hence it decided to grant them the reservation.
“The government felt this was a special and extraordinary situation and hence we should be permitted to exceed the 50 per cent mark,” Sakhare said.
The bench had last week questioned as to why the Maratha community could not be included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and what was the need to create a special category of Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) for the Maratha community.
In response, Sakhare told the court that the government did not include the Maratha community in the OBC category so as to avoid any repercussions in the state.
The court will hear the petitioners’ advocates on 12 March.