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Maratha reservation: Maharashtra urges Centre to intervene

The state government has sought the Centre’s intervention to transfer the ongoing legal battle concerning the reservation quota for Marathas to a larger bench of nine or 11 judges. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting a Central intervention.

Public works minister Ashok Chavan said on Friday that while giving interim stay to the Maratha reservation, the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) had referred to the Indra Sawhney judgment, which caps reservation at 50%. He said that since the Indra Sawhney judgement was delivered by a nine-judge bench in the 1990s, the Maratha reservation case too should be transferred to a larger bench of nine or 11 judges for further hearings.

“Not only the reservation for Marathas, but similar cases pending in other states too should be referred to a larger bench. While hearing the Maratha reservation case, the Apex Court has summoned the attorney general of India. The Central government can now intervene and represent the states with similar pending cases and demand the larger bench. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will formally request the Centre for such intervention,” Chavan said in a press conference.

Chavan, who also heads the Cabinet sub-committee on Maratha reservation, said the Centre should request a review of Indra Sawhney judgement. “Most states have crossed 50% reservation. The Indra Sawhney judgement caps reservation at 50% and leads to legal conflict. The Centre should request the Apex Court for a review of the judgement. Similarly, the state government’s powers to extend reservation for socially and educationally backward classes has been disputed. Central intervention on that front too is warranted,” he said.

The next hearing on the matter of the Maratha reservation will be held before a five-judge bench of SC from January 25. The Maratha reservation in jobs and college admissions was given interim stay by three-judge bench of the Apex Court on September 9, 2020.

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