Terming the Supreme Court's decision to strike down reservation for the Maratha community in Maharashtra as unfortunate, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said he was requesting the Centre "with folded hands" to step in, showing the same urgency as it did in the case of Article 370 and some other matters.
In a statement after the apex court verdict, Thackeray said, “With folded hands, we request the prime minister and the president to take an immediate decision on Maratha quota." In the past, the Union government has even amended the Constitution to bolster its decisions and similar alacrity should be shown to give reservation to the Maratha community, he said.
He also made an appeal to people in the state to maintain peace.
The decision to give reservation to the community had been taken unanimously by both houses of the Maharashtra legislature and was based on the Gaikwad commission's recommendations, but the apex court nullified it on the ground that the state has no right to offer such quota, he said.
The Union government should show the same urgency to help the community now as it did in the case of Article 370, "Shahbano case" and Atrocities Act, Thackeray said.
He was apparently referring to laws or constitutional amendments enacted by the Narendra Modi government to abrogate Article 370, penalize triple talaq and restore stringent provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act which a SC ruling had diluted.
Thackeray also said that Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra Chhatrapati Sambhajiraje had been seeking Prime Minister Modi's appointment over the Maratha reservation issue for one year but in vain.
"Why was he not given time by the prime minister? The question comes up because the PM has the right to take a decision on reservation," Thackeray said.
"The SC's decision can not be welcomed but nobody should try to incite people. Efforts will continue till we win the reservation case," the statement further said.
Earlier in the day, the SC termed the state law on Maratha quota as “unconstitutional" and held there were no exceptional circumstances to justify breach of the 50 per cent reservation cap set by the 1992 Mandal verdict.
The judgement came on a batch of pleas challenging the Bombay High Court verdict which had upheld reservations to Marathas.
The Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admission in educational institutions in the State and for appointments in the public services and posts under the State) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act 2018 was enacted to grant reservation to people of the Maratha community in the state.
The Bombay High Court, while upholding the law in June 2019, had held that 16 per cent reservation was not justifiable and the quota should not exceed 12 per cent in employment and 13 per cent in admissions.