No appointments under new Maratha quota legislation till Jan 23: Maha govt tells HC


India, All India

Maha Guv C Vidyasagar Rao last month approved and signed Maratha Reservation Bill after state Assembly unanimously passed it.

State will not make any appointments till the date of next hearing of pending petitions challenging the legislation granting quota to Marathas. (Photo: File)

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on December 19 told the Bombay High Court it would not make appointments in any of its departments under the new legislation providing quota to the Maratha community till January 23, when the court will hear petitions against the reservation.

The high court had earlier this month chided the government for issuing an advertisement for job recruitment even as petitions challenging the legislation are pending.

Government counsel V A Thorat on December 19 assured a division bench of Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice M S Karnik that the state will not make any appointments till the next date of hearing (January 23).

"The state's General Administration Department shall issue necessary directions to all local bodies and institutions under its control asking them not to make any appointments under the new legislation till then," he said.

The court had on December 10 asked the government if it was willing to make public the report submitted by the State Backward Class Commission, on whose recommendations the government introduced the legislation.

To this, Thorat and state Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said while the government was duty-bound to submit a copy of the report to the court, it had some apprehensions about giving the report to lawyers, who have filed petitions, and making it public.

"There are some portions which are not relevant to the recommendations but pertain to the history of the Maratha community... This we feel may create social unrest. Some wounds, though healed, if opened may create unrest," Kumbhakoni said.

Thorat said those portions are "volatile" in nature.

The bench then suggested the government to consider giving the lawyers a truncated version with the said portion deleted.

"Submit a copy of the report to us (court) within a week. By then decide if a truncated version of the report could be given to the lawyers appearing for the petitioners' who have challenged the reservation," the court told the government.

The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions on the Maratha quota issue.

While a few of the petitions challenged the government's decision to provide 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to the Maratha community, several others were filed in support of it.

On the last hearing, advocate Gunaratan Sadavarte, appearing in a petition challenging the legislation, pointed out to the court an advertisement issued by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission inviting applications for jobs.

He had sought that the recruitment process pertaining to Maratha quota be stayed pending hearing of the petitions.

Thorat on Wednesday told the court that the entire process of recruitment will take over a year to complete.

"The selection of applications for the jobs is common. The reservation issue comes only at the end of the process when appointments are made. Even if the government fast tracks the process, it would still take a couple of months," he said.

The government in an affidavit submitted on December 19 said it would not be proper for the court to stay the entire recruitment process, considering large number of vacancies in state departments and the issue of unemployment in society.

The bench on December 19 accepted the contentions of the government and its assurance that no appointments would be made till the next date of hearing.

The court directed the government to file its detailed affidavit to the petitions and posted the matter for further hearing on January 23.

Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had last month approved and signed the Maratha Reservation Bill after the state Assembly unanimously passed it.