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Maharashtra to take Ordinance route on Maratha quota

The BJP government in Maharashtra has decided to use the Ordinance route to reverse a Supreme Court judgment, barring the state from implementing the Maratha quota for admissions to postgraduate medical courses this year.

On Thursday, the state government received the Election Commission of India’s (EC) permission for promulgating the Ordinance while the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections is still in place. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has called a special meeting of his Cabinet on Friday when this Ordinance is expected to be approved, said sources.

Following statewide protests by Marathas, the Fadnavis government had on November 30, 2018, cleared a 16 per cent quota for the community in education and government jobs, identifying them as Socially and Economically Backward Class. On March 8, 2019, the government had issued a notification for the implementation of the reservation in educational institutions.

The first issue came up with postgraduate medical examinations. On May 2, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, while hearing a petition, had disallowed the quota for admissions for postgraduate medical courses on the grounds that the “reservation cannot be applicable with retrospective effect”. Admission process for postgraduate medical courses had already begun before the Maratha quota was cleared, the court had argued.

The government went on to approach the SC against the HC order. The SC, on May 9, upheld the HC verdict, slamming the government for “messing up the admission process”.

With state polls just five months away, the verdict could have potentially triggered another Maratha reservation agitation in the state.

While the court had earlier directed the state to complete the college admission process before May 25, the state has approached the court for extending this timeline till May 31, said sources.



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