Maratha Reservation, another shock to the Maratha community; GR cancellation of economically weaker reservation benefit – retrospective ews quota: hc sets aside maharashtra move

m. Ta. Special Representative, Mumbai: After the Supreme Court on September 9, 2020, gave an interim stay to the Maratha Community Reservation Act (SEBC), the Bombay High Court on Friday quashed the state government’s order to include Maratha candidates in the open category of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) ten percent reservation category in the direct service recruitment process. Hence, Maratha candidates who are trying to get benefits under EWS reservation in various direct service recruitment process of the year 2020-21 are shocked.

In 2019, Mahavitaran had advertised for the recruitment of various posts like Electrical Assistant, Substation Assistant, Graduate Apprentice Engineer-Civil, Diploma Apprentice Engineer-Distribution/Construction through direct service recruitment process. At that time, as reservation was applicable as per the Maratha Reservation Act, many Maratha candidates had filled applications under that reservation. However, the Supreme Court on September 9, 2020 ordered an interim stay on the appeals against the Maratha Reservation Act. Eventually, the Supreme Court canceled the Maratha reservation itself. However, during the interim moratorium, the Maratha candidates who had previously applied under the direct service recruitment process under the Maratha Samaj reservation quota, were allowed to change their application to the EWS reservation category or the open category, and were also allowed to obtain EWS certificates by the state government. In this regard, the state government issued a GR on 23 December 2020. On the basis of this GR, the Industries Department had also issued a letter of such instructions on February 10, 2021. This was challenged through petitions by several candidates from the EWS group in the open category. At the same time, Maratha candidates also filed petitions supporting the state government’s GR. A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice Makarand Karnik announced the reserved decision after hearing all these petitions.

A copy of the court order today

“Mahavitaran as well as Home Department had already started the recruitment process. Therefore, the earlier rules of this GR apply to that recruitment process. At such a time when the recruitment process is going on, the state government itself cannot circumvent the rules by withdrawing the GR. Therefore, the GR dated 23 December 2020 cannot be applied with retrospective effect’, the bench explained in its decision. A copy of the detailed order of the court is likely to be available today, Saturday. Only then the reasoning behind the court decision will be clear.

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