The government of Maharashtra has decided to enact an ordinance to amend two laws to provide reserves to other backward classes (OBCs) in local bodies without violating the 50% reservation cap imposed by the Supreme Court. The decision was made during the state cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
State Food and Civilian Supply Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the decision was made in light of the reductions in six district councils (zilla parishads) declared by the state electoral commission on 5 October. Thanks to this decision, they will be able to obtain 90% of the seats of the OBC community in local bodies as well as in some districts, their seats will be reduced, Bhujbal said. He also added that their fight for the OBC reservation at Apex Court will continue.
According to an estimate prepared by the state government, of the total of 5,200 seats reserved for the OBC community in the state, approximately 4,500 seats can be saved by making the amendment. On August 28, HT reported that the state is likely to make an amendment to laws to reinstate the OBC reservation in local bodies, without violating the 50% cap imposed by the Apex Court. From now on, the state’s rural development department will issue an ordinance to amend two pieces of legislation – the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads Act 1961 and the Panchayat Samitis and the Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act for the zilla parishads , panchayat samiti and gram panchayats. A similar ordinance was issued by former government Devendra Fadnavis on July 31, 2019.
The functioning of local state bodies is covered by five pieces of legislation. The other three are – Mumbai Municipal Corporations Act, Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act and Maharashtra Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats and. (iii). Industrial Cantons Act. The modification of the three laws above can be made by the public town planning service.
“The urban development department will make the amendments for other local communities at the next council of ministers and a decision will be taken accordingly,” said a senior minister. âTamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and a few other states have also made such an amendment. We also accept that the reservation quota limit of 50% will not be violated when holding local body elections. The same was also discussed in multi-party meetings called by the Chief Minister on two occasions. However, even after that, the seats of the OBC community will drop by 10-15% in local bodies, âBhujbal said after the state cabinet meeting at the Sahyadri guesthouse.
Maharashtra’s local body law provides for reservations for the communities of scheduled castes and tribes according to their population in those particular bodies. In the case of the OBC community, they were getting a direct reservation of 27% because their demographic data is not available and their last census was taken in 1931. Therefore, there are many districts where the combined reservation of all communities – SC, ST and OBC – exceeds the limit of 50%.
After the new amendment, the SC and ST communities will continue to get the reservation quota based on their population, but the OBC community will get the rest within the 50% cap. This means that in tribal populated districts such as Palghar and Nandurbar, the OBC community will not get any reservations because their ST community has a large population.
Tribes are part of the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community.
On March 4, the Supreme Court ruled that the reservation in favor of the CBO in local bodies should not result in the 50% ceiling of the reservation quota that it had mandated being exceeded. He ordered the state government to appoint a commission dedicated to collecting empirical data, on the basis of which the community’s reservation quota is to be set and also allowed the state election commission to organize surveys of local bodies without having reservations for CBOs.
Quota in ST neighborhoods
The state cabinet on Wednesday revised the reservation in eight Listed Tribe-dominated districts for direct recruitment into Class 3 and Class 4 jobs in the districts. Previously, since the tribal population was high in these areas, the job quota allocated to ST, Vimukta Jati (VJ), Nomadic Tribe (NT), etc. has been increased, while the quota for OBC has been reduced. Wednesday’s decision increased the job quota for OBC, without affecting the booking for ST, VJ, NT, etc., said Minister of State Vijay Wadettiwar. The OBC will get more quotas for Class 3 and Class 4 jobs in these districts, including Palghar, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Gadhchiroli and Raigad, the minister said.
The state’s tribal population gets 7% of job bookings in Maharashtra, but in those districts they received between 15% and 24% in 2001, an official said. âAfter the entry into force of the Panchayats (extension to listed areas) or PESA here in 2001, the ST reservation for class 3 and class 4 jobs was increased. In this, the quota was reduced only by the CBOs. The position of the subcommittee was that if the reservation is reduced, this should be done for the others as well, âsaid Wadettiwar.
âToday, the OBC reservation in Gadhchiroli has been increased to 17% from 6%, 19% in Chandrapur against 9%, 15% in Nashik, Nandurbar, Palghar and Dhule,â he said.
“The state government only made the decision after the BJP organized statewide protests,” said Keshav Upadhye, spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Earlier today, the party staged protests in Thane, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Solapur, Jalgaon, Kolhapur and Nashik across the state against the MVA government. He said he was organizing protests across the state in 1,000 locations.