The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen on Friday said it will approach the Bombay High Court demanding reservation for Muslims in education and government jobs in the state, News18 reported.
This comes a day after the Maharashtra legislature Assembly passed a bill grating 16% reservation to the Maratha community in jobs and education under the socially and educationally backward category.
AIMIM legislator Imtiyaz Jaleel said the party will not challenge the Maratha Reservation Bill but will move the High Court seeking a similar provision for Muslims, ANI reported. On Thursday, Jaleel had questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government’s “indifferent attitude” towards Muslims. He had also claimed the bill for Maratha reservation was passed in a hurry.
Speaking in the Assembly on Friday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said those seeking reservation for Muslims can approach the State Backward Class Commission. The commission’s recommendations will be binding on the government, he added.
The chief minister said Muslims and Christians do not have a caste system, PTI reported. “There are some backward castes among Muslims as they had retained their caste while converting from Hinduism,” he added. “About 52 backward castes among Muslims are given reservations at present.”
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan said courts have in the past struck down reservations in jobs, but not in education.
“There is a strong case for an ordinance.”
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had said on Thursday that Muslims deserve reservation as they have lived in poverty for generations. “I have consistently argued that there are backward castes in Muslims who have lived for generations in a cycle of poverty,” Owaisi tweeted. “Reservation is a tool that will break this cycle.”
On November 15, the State Backward Class Commission submitted a report to the Maharashtra government recommending reservation for the Marathas, who comprise about 30% of the state’s population. The panel said the Marathas are socially and economically backward. Earlier this week, Fadnavis said the quota for the Maratha community will be independent of the existing 52% reservation system in the state.