Decision on OBC quota in local governing bodies in a week: CM Thackeraytext_fields
Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that all political parties have agreed to restore the reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local governing bodies and a decision would be taken in a week's time, .
He was speaking at an all-party meeting held on the issue at the Sahyadri Guest House of the state government . Another meeting would be held next Friday, he said.
The state government is trying to find a way to restore political reservation for OBCs in Maharashtra after the Supreme Court read down the earlier provision.
We all have agreed to reinstate the OBC quota in local governing bodies. The state government will study the suggestions made by various political parties. All of them have also opposed holding civic polls till the quota is reinstated," Thackeray was quoted as saying in an official release.
The next meeting will take place on next Friday (September 3) and we will take some decision by then," the chief minister added.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis told reporters after the meeting that the state government should focus on compiling empirical data of OBC population as per the Supreme Court-mandated `triple test'.
"The Supreme Court has not struck down the OBC reservation, but only read down a provision. It means that if the Maharashtra government completes the triple-test procedure, political reservation can be restored. The state government should focus on it," the former chief minister said.
A backward classes commission, one of the requirements of the triple-test, has already been set up, he said. Quantification can be done on the basis of sample and there is no need of an OBC census, Fadnavis said
"The state government's backward commission needs to compile empirical data so that we can get back the political reservation of OBCs. The state also needs to study the political backwardness of the OBCs," he said.
"We have decided to meet again next Friday to discuss the issue. The law and judiciary department will look into it...When I asked the state government whether it has any alternative plan, I was told that there was no other plan to tackle the issue," the former chief minister said.
In 2019, the then BJP-Shiv Sena government allotted political reservation to OBCs.
But in March 2021, the Supreme Court read down section 12(2)(c) of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 which had provided 27 per cent reservation to OBCs as it breached the 50 per cent ceiling on overall quota. The apex court also quashed the notifications issued by the state election commission in 2018 and 2020 to the extent of providing reservation of seats in concerned local bodies for OBCs
Fadnavis also said that if the 50 per cent cap continued, OBCs will get 27-35 per cent reservation in 20 districts and 22-27 per cent in ten districts.
The issue of five other districts was more tricky as the OBC population in these districts is small, he added.
"We need to take up the issue before a bench of nine judges, which will take five to seven years to give its verdict. We may need to pass a new act for the five districts to protect OBC reservation there," the BJP leader said.
Incidentally, afterwards Fadnavis met chief minister Thackeray at the latter's chamber at the guest house for about 20 minutes.