Ajit Pawar calls for meeting with leaders to discuss SC’s OBC quota ruling

MUMBAI: Moving the Supreme Court with a review petition against its ruling that reservations to Other Backward Classes cannot exceed 50 per cent of the seats in local bodies reserved for SCs, STs and OBCs taken together, was an option before the Maharashtra government, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said in the Assembly on Friday.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said reservation in favour of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in concerned local bodies in Maharashtra cannot exceed aggregate 50 per cent of the total seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and OBCs taken together.

He further said that, the matter will be discussed with the State’s attorney general and senior advocates in Delhi to challenge the Apex court’s ruling by a five-judge bench. The next legal strategy will be decided by holding a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition and leaders of both the parties, Pawar said.

Raising the issue in the Legislative Assembly, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis demanded that the Question Hour be set aside and the MVA government make a statement, saying the Apex court judgement will have a far-reaching impact on OBC quota.

Fadnavis criticised the government for neglecting the issue of OBC quota and not forming a commission to collect empirical data on Other Backward Classes’ population.

“I demand that the government file a review petition citing the Covid-19 pandemic and form an OBC commission at the earliest. The government should seek a stay on the order,” Fadnavis said.

Pawar, while responding to Fadnavis, said elections to local bodies as per the Mandal Commission-mandated quota (for OBCs) are being held since 1994. “The court order is restricted to a few local bodies. But, if Fadnavis says the entire state can be impacted, we will have to find a solution. I suggest all of us meet to discuss and find a way out,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

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