State Cabinet of Maharashtra on 26 June 2014 approved 16 percent reservation to Maratha community and 5 percent to Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions.
The reservation is applicable only for non-creamy layer of these communities and will be implemented immediately. This decision will not affect the existing 52 percent reservation in the State and with this the overall reservation has now increased to 73 percent.
Prithviraj Chavan, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra said that the reservation has been granted on the basis of backwardness of the community, but not on the lines of religion. The decision was taken on recommendations of Sachar Committee and Ragnath Mishra Commission on social, educational and economic backwardness of Muslims.
Population of the two communities in the State has about 110 million people. Out of this Marathas population constitutes 32 percent and Muslims population constitutes 5 percent.
Andhra Pradesh was the first State to provide 4% reservation to Muslims in 2007 which was later quashed down by the respectable High Court terming it is unsustainable and violative of Article 14, 15(1) and 16 (2) of the Constitution.
The issue of providing reservation for backward Muslims in Maharashtra was first raised in 2004 when Vilasrao Deshmukh was the chief minister, while the issue of Maratha reservation was older. This move of Maharashtra has raised eyebrows as the move is seen as a populist measure which has been taken to woo the population of two communities with State Assembly elections in sight. Also, the move may be challenged in the Supreme Court as it crosses the SC set limit of 50 percent reservation.
In 1992, the Supreme Court’s Constitution bench had set a ceiling of 50% on all types of reservation, while ruling that the Mandal commission’s recommendation giving reservations to OBCs was constitutionally valid.
Though the SC has set the 50 percent limit on providing reservation, yet there are States which have been providing more than 50 percent reservation. For instance, in Andhra Pradesh, reservation has crossed the mark of 83 percent, while in Tamil Nadu, it is 69 percent.
When: 25 June 2014