Bombay HC stays 5% reservation for Muslims in jobs

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Shafaqna (Shia International News Association)

Bombay High Court on Friday stayed Maharashtra government’s decision to give 16% reservation to Marathas in public service and educational institutions. The court also stayed reservations to the Muslims in public service but allowed 5% reservation to the same community in educational institutions.

The HC bench headed by chief justice Mohit Shah was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) filed against the reservation on the ground that they were not constitutional.

The matter would be now heard again in January 2015.

On June 25, 2014 eyeing the state assembly elections, previous Congress-NCP government had approved 16% reservation for Marathas and 5% for Muslims in government jobs and educational institutions. Soon after the declaration of reservation by state, PILs challenging reservation for the two communities were filed by social activist Ketan Tirodkar, Anil Thanekar, I S Gilada of Indian Health Organization and others.

The HC had admitted all the petitions and issued notice to the Advocate General. Former journalist and activist Ketan Tirodkar argued that Marathas are not a caste but a linguistic group and asserted Marathas are a dominant community, not a backward one. The petition also argued that the decision violated a Supreme Court order that had made it clear that reservations could not cross 50 per cent.

The government, on the other hand defended its decision on reservation to Marathas and Muslims contending that the two communities were socio-educationally backward and also economically poor.

It said the decision was based on the report of a Committee headed by former minister Narayan Rane set up to look into the Maratha community status in Maharashtra and recommendations of Rajinder Sachar Committee and Mahmoodur Rahman Committee. Both these committees had recommended reservation for Muslims.

The court was of the view that the comparative data provided by the government justified its decision to introduce reservation for Muslims in government educational institutions it excluded private educational bodies from the purview of reservations for the minority community.

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