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Congress calls strategy meet to discuss Maharashtra govt’s roll back of Muslim quota

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Mumbai: A day after the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in Maharashtra decided not to give 5% reservation to the Muslim community in jobs and education, the main opposition Congress has called a strategy meet to discuss the issue on Thursday.
As per reports, the meeting with be attended by all top state Congress leaders, including party’s Maharashtra unit chief Ashok Chavan and Mumbai unit chief Sanjay Nirupam.

Five percent reservations for Muslims in Maharashtra government jobs was announced by the erstwhile Congress-NCP government just before Assembly polls last year.

The BJP government’s decision in this regard was announced through a resolution dated March 2, 2015 by which the state cancelled the earlier resolution of July 24, 2014 brought in by the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) regime.

“An ordinance to this effect (providing a five percent job quota) lapsed on December 23 last year,” a Maharashtra government resolution said. “Considering this fact, the concerned government resolution issued on July 24 last year is being scrapped,” the government resolution said.

In June last year, Congress-NCP government had approved a 16 percent reservation for Marathas and a five percent for Muslims just ahead of the October 15 Assembly polls, after the Congress was routed in the General Elections.

The quota was given through two separate categories, namely the Educationally and Socially Backward Category (ESBC) for Marathas as well as a Special Backward Class (Muslims) segment for the Muslims.

On November 14, 2014, the Bombay High Court had stayed implementation of the decision of the erstwhile Congress-NCP government to provide 16 percent reservations for Marathas in jobs and education, which was announced just ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly polls.

The court had also stayed the Maharashtra state’s decision to provide a five per cent job reservation to Muslims in government service, but it allowed quotas for them in educational institutions.

The Maharashtra state government had challenged the Bombay High Court order in the Supreme Court, which refused to interfere with the interim decision of the High Court but asked the Maharashtra state government to go back to the Bombay High Court on the issue.

On January 5, this year, the Bombay High Court gave three weeks to the Maharashtra state government to file an affidavit submitting data to justify its decision to provide reservations to Marathas and Muslims in jobs as well as educational institutions.

Earlier, the Bombay High Court had said that the Supreme Court had already laid down the law for reservation as per which it cannot exceed 50 percent of the total seats.

In fact, 52 percent of seats in government jobs and educational institutions are already reserved for targeted groups. However, in the run up to the Maharashtra Assembly poll, the erstwhile Congress-NCP government had raised reservations to 73 percent by announcing a 16 percent quota for Marathas and a five percent quota for Muslims.

With PTI inputs

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