Not all blood relatives are eligible for Maratha quota, says Shinde govt.

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Pune

The Eknath Shinde-led government on Thursday clarified to Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange-Patil that not all blood relatives of Maratha community members established as Other Backward Classes (OBC) could be given OBC certificates, while appealing to the activist to give the government more time to complete the reservation process and call off his proposed agitation after December 24.

A delegation of Ministers comprising Girish Mahajan — a frequent ‘troubleshooter’ in earlier delegations sent to pacify the activist — and Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction leaders Uday Samant and Sandipan Bhumre met Mr. Jarange-Patil and implored him to call off his proposed agitation on the expiry of the December 24 ‘deadline’ set by the activist for the government to grant quota.

“The Chief Minister has given a positive reply on the Maratha reservation matter during the winter session of the Assembly. The curative petition filed in the Supreme Court on this matter is progressing, while the Maharashtra Backward Classes Commission has been infused with ₹360 crore-fund to expedite the process of finding OBC Kunbi proofs. We will be giving the Maratha community reservation through both these procedures,” said Mr. Mahajan.

Speaking to reporters in Jalna with Mr. Jarange-Patil by his side, the BJP leader said the Maratha quota issue was “in its final stage” now.

In final stage

“The CM has promised to call a special session of the Legislature in February, the moment the report from the State Backward Class Commission [to prove the socio-economic backwardness of the Marathas] comes through. This matter has reached the last stage. Hence, we request you to drop this ‘ultimatum’ [of December 24]. You have led such a big agitation. The credit for this goes to you. We ask your cooperation in ensuring a quota for the Marathas,” he said.

The activist had earlier demanded more clarity from the State government on some technical points related to granting of reservation to blood relatives of Marathas.

Responding to Jarange-Patil’s query, Mr. Mahajan made it clear that while only the husband’s side of relatives were eligible to get OBC Kunbi category certificate (if the husband, a Maratha showed proof of his Kunbi OBC antecedents), the kin from the wife’s side was not eligible for OBC reservation.

“Generally, only the husband’s caste is considered in cases of inter-caste marriages. So, if the husband can establish himself as a Kunbi OBC by procuring relevant proofs, then his son, daughter, cousins, brothers may be eligible for OBC reservation. But that will not be the case with the wife’s side of relatives. A number of apex court cases have ruled thus,” said Mr. Mahajan.

The Minister said it was the government’s expectation that the Maratha reservation be an enduring one which stood scrutiny in courts.

“There is no point in insisting on getting something that is not legally possible. In my opinion, the reservation issue is anyway going to be resolved within the next month-and-a half. We urge Mr. Jarange-Patil to be a little more patient,” said Mr. Mahajan.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jarange-Patil continued to remain vague about the future course of action, stating he would announce his decision after a meeting of community leaders on December 23. “It is our expectation that the State government fulfil its word given to the Maratha community by December 24. That said, there is no reason why discussions should not go on until that time. We still seek clarity on part of the government. However, I think a path will emerge soon,” said the activist.

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