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Maratha Quota: 2 Panel Members Quit Over 'Interference', 'Biased Approach' of Eknath Shinde Govt

The government reportedly wants to limit data collection to just the Maratha community, whereas the dissenting members of the panel are pushing for data to be collected on all communities.
Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde. Photo: Facebook

New Delhi: Two members of the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MBSCC) have quit while others are reportedly contemplating resigning over the Eknath Shinde-led government’s “biased” approach towards the functioning of the panel.

The state government has asked the panel to “ascertain existence of exceptional circumstances and or extraordinary situations in the context of Maratha community justifying exceeding of the limit of 50% reservation as laid down in the judgements of the Supreme Court.”

According to the Indian Express, this is being interpreted as akin to obtaining data to justify the quota for the Maratha community by some committee members

Two of its nine members resigned in just the last week, one more said he was contemplating resignation — all of them complaining of “growing interference”, the Indian Express reported.

While Balaji Killarikar and Laxman Hake resigned recently citing the “agenda-driven” functioning of the panel and growing “interference” from the government as the reason for their respective resignations. Another member, Justice (retired) Chandralal Meshram told the Indian Express he was also contemplating resignation.

“We are not government servants. We are not supposed to work based on government orders. I have yet not made a decision, but yes, I am thinking about resigning. I will discuss with some seniors and take a call in the next two-three days,” Meshram said.

Also read: Explainer: Why the Maratha Quota Agitation Has Put Successive Maharashtra Governments in a Bind

In his resignation letter, Killarikar said that “to resolve the situation, it is better to have a comprehensive caste-based socio-economic survey of Maharashtra state which will enable every section of society to realise their own socio-economic status”.

The government reportedly wants to limit data collection to the Maratha community whereas the dissenting members of the panel are pushing for data to be collected on all communities.

“The government wants a report from the Commission on a pre-decided assumption that Marathas are backward. This is an independent commission, which will collect and analyse the data and only then a conclusion on the backwardness of the community will be drawn. How can the government ask the commission to give data to include a particular community into backward classes?” the member who did not want to be named told the paper.

The member also pointed out that the earlier report of the commission under Justice (Retired) M G Gaikwad on the backwardness of the Maratha community was not accepted by the apex court. “It isn’t fair on the government’s part now to dictate to us what they want to hear,” he said.

Chief minister Shinde in a letter to the commission last month had requested the panel to examine the call for inclusion of the Maratha community as a backward class.

This came in the backdrop of unrelenting pressure from protesters from the Maratha community led by one Manoj Jarange Patil and a few suicide cases where those that died said they were taking this step for the cause of Maratha reservation.

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