The Bombay High Court on Tuesday appealed to members of the Maratha community to refrain from violence and not to commit suicide during their ongoing agitation for reservations in government jobs and in education. A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai said the community should remember that the court has taken note of the situation, PTI reported.
“The matter is sub judice and we have taken note of the situation,” the court said. “Due process is being followed by the commission [Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission] and the state, and members of the community must remember this.”
Saying that it had read several news reports of suicides by the members of the community, the court added: “They must remember that human life is very valuable and cannot be lost just like that.” The bench also asked the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission to complete the collation of data related to the community’s socio-economic status, to analyse it and submit its recommendations to the state government as fast as possible.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation the Maratha Kranti Morcha had filed seeking reservation and directions to the backward classes commission to submit its recommendations to the Devendra Fadnavis-led government.
The government’s counsel, advocate Ravi Kadam, told the court that the commission had completed the collection of data and a three-member panel will submit its recommendations to it by September 5. Kadam said the panel will need time at least till November 15 to submit its own recommendations to the government.
On Sunday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that all constitutional obligations in connection with granting reservation to the Maratha community will be finished by November. Fadnavis said a special session of the state legislature would be convened within a month of the State Backward Class Commission submitting its report on the matter.
However, the court on Tuesday said it was concerned about the situation and directed the state to file a fresh progress report detailing the commission’s work by September 10. The court will hear the matter next on that date, ANI reported.
Protests had erupted in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Palghar, Raigad and Satara on July 23, leading to the death of a constable. Two days later, the shutdown was called off after Fadnavis said the government had taken cognisance of protests and was ready to talk to the community. The Maratha Kranti Morcha has called for a fresh round of protests on August 9.
Maratha groups allegedly damaged Bharatiya Janata Party MP Heena Gavit’s car in Dhule on Sunday. They also threatened the party’s state president, Raosaheb Danve, in Jalna and shouted slogans outside the residence of Legislative Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade in Aurangabad.