Mumbai: The Maharashtra government’s decision to grant 16 per cent reservation to Maratha community was challenged by petitioners in the Bombay High Court on Thursday. On the second day of the hearing, the legal validity of the reservations was questioned by the petitioners appearing before a division bench comprising Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre. Meanwhile, arguments on the rationale behind placing the community under the ‘special’ category will continue on Friday, stated a report.

According to a Times of India report, senior advocate S Aney had questioned the rationale behind placing Maratha community under the special category quotas called ‘socially and educationally backward class’. The advocate reportedly said that through the newer quota category, the government has raised the overall reservation to 78 per cent and has also created confusion. Another senior advocate named Arvind Datar alleged that the decision of the government was Constitutionally unsound.

The reservation granted to the Maratha community is in the field of education and employment. On November 30, Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao signed the Maratha Reservation Bill that proposed a 16 per cent reservation for Marathas under educationally and socially backward category. The state already has 52 per cent reservation for OBCs, SCs, and STs in government jobs and admission in academic institutions.

On November 18, the Maharashtra government cabinet had approved the Bill for which the community had been protesting since 2017. In 2014, the then Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government of Maharashtra had announced 16 per cent reservation for Marathas and five per cent reservation for the Muslims. However, the Bombay High Court stayed the decision in response to a PIL.

(With Agency inputs)