HC dismisses government’s argument that it will create law and order problem.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court Monday directed the Maharashtra government to give copies of the entire Backward Class Commission report on Maratha reservation to petitioners challenging the quota decision. The court refused to accept the state contention that a part of the report should not be given to the petitioners because it might create a law and order problem. The court said, “We have perused the entire report and there is nothing to worry about if the entire document is given to the petitioners.”
A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the 16 per cent reservation for the Maratha community. While a few of the petitions challenged the government decision to provide 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to the Maratha community, others supported the reservation.
During previous hearings, state advocate general (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the court that the state was ready to submit the entire report to the court but would give a truncated version to the petitioners. “Around 20 pages of the report will have to be masked before giving to the petitioners. These pages are about the history of the Maratha community and the state feels that it may create communal tension and law and order problems,” he said. Last week, the government submitted the entire report to the bench, which said it would peruse and then decide.
Justice More on Monday said, “We have gone through the entire report. We feel everything should be given to the petitioners without any masking or deletion. There is nothing worrisome according to us.” The bench then directed the government to give copies of the entire report to the petitioners Tuesday.
The court said it would commence final hearing on February 6.
The government had earlier this month filed its aff-idavit in the petitions and justified its decision to gr-ant quota to the Marathas, saying it was meant to alleviate the community from its social and economic backwardness.