The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked Maharashtra government to file an affidavit by August 19 in reply to a bunch of PILs challenging a recent Government Resolution (GR) granting reservations to Muslims and Marathas in educational institutions and jobs.
The direction was given by a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka, which asked the petitioners to file rejoinders, if any, by August 22. The matter has been posted for hearing on August 26.
The Congress-NCP government in June approved 16% reservation for Marathas and 5% for Muslims in government jobs and education institutions. The court also allowed one of the petitioners, Ketan Tirodkar, an activist, to amend his petition within a week to include the challenge to the recent GR on the issue.
Tirodkar, who had challenged the reservation to Marathas, today sought to amend the petition to include the challenge to the GR which was issued recently after he had filed the PIL. Besides Tirodkar's PIL, the other one was filed by one Anil Thanekar, also an activist, seeking to quash the GR on the ground that the Constitution does not allow reservation on the basis of religion as has been done in the case of Muslims.
Regarding reservation for Marathas, Thanekar's PIL contended that this community does not belong to backward class.
Another petition is pending since 2009. In this case also, the HC has allowed the petitioner to carry out an amendment to challenge the GR issued recently on reservation.
The PIL filed by Thanekar has argued that the recent reservation for Muslims and Marathas takes the total reservation in the state to above 50 per cent which exceeds the ceiling imposed by the Supreme Court.
Yet another PIL has been filed by 'Youth for Equality', an anti-reservation body of professionals such as doctors, engineers and chartered accountants.
All these PILs have been clubbed together and are being heard simultaneously by the bench.