Maharashtra’s latest Maratha quota law

Maharashtra’s latest Maratha quota law


The Maharashtra Assembly passed a Bill granting 10% reservation to the Maratha community in education and government jobs.

  • The legislation is distinct from existing OBC quotas and aims to provide additional benefits to non-Kunbi Marathas.
  • The Bill is based on a report highlighting the socio-economic challenges faced by the Maratha community, justifying the need for reservation.


GS-02 (Government policies and interventions)

Mains Question:

Discuss the implications of the recent Bill granting reservation to the Maratha community in Maharashtra. Analyze the legal and judicial challenges associated with the legislation and propose strategies to address socio-economic disparities effectively. (250 words)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Introduction of the Bill
  • Key Points of the Maratha Reservation Bill
  • Distinct Reservation Framework
  • Justification for Reservation
  • Legal and Judicial Scrutiny

Introduction of the Bill:

  • The recent passing of a Bill in the Maharashtra Assembly has stirred debate regarding reservation policies in the state. The legislation seeks to provide 10% reservation to the Maratha community in educational institutions and government employment.
  • However, concerns have been raised regarding its implications and effectiveness in addressing socio-economic disparities.

Key Points of the Maratha Reservation Bill:

  • The Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Bill 2024 is based on a report by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission, which identifies the Maratha community as socially and educationally backward.
  • The Bill designates the Marathas as a Socially and Educationally Backward Class under Article 342A (3) of the Indian Constitution, allowing reservation under Article 15(4), Article  15(5), and Article 16(4).
  • Article 342A (3) permits states to maintain lists of SEBCs, separate from the Central List.
  • Articles 15(4) and Article 15(5) empower the state to make special provisions for SEBCs in educational institutions and appointments, respectively.
  • Article 16(4) allows reservation of posts for backward classes not adequately represented in state services.
  • The Bill applies the principle of the creamy layer to Maratha reservation, ensuring it benefits the most marginalized within the community.
  • The commission’s report justifies Maratha reservations above the 50% ceiling set by the Supreme Court, citing “exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations.”
  • With the addition of 10% reservation for Marathas, Maharashtra’s total reservation will reach 62%, exceeding the current 52% reservation that includes various categories like SC, ST, OBC, Vimukt Jati, and Nomadic Tribes.

Distinct Reservation Framework:

  • Unlike previous initiatives, the new Bill does not interfere with existing quotas for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
  • Instead, it introduces a separate reservation category specifically for the Maratha community.
  • This move aims to extend benefits to non-Kunbi Marathas while ensuring that the OBC quota remains intact.

Justification for Reservation:

  • The Bill is founded on a report by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission, highlighting the socio-economic challenges faced by the Maratha community.
  • Factors such as extreme poverty, declining agricultural income, and land ownership patterns have been cited as reasons for their disadvantaged status.
  • The Commission’s findings suggest that the Maratha community requires special consideration beyond the existing reservation framework.

Legal and Judicial Scrutiny:

  • Despite legislative approval, concerns remain regarding the Bill’s compliance with legal and judicial standards. Legal experts argue that the Maratha community does not meet the criteria for reservation as outlined by the Supreme Court. The absence of exceptional circumstances justifying the breach of the 50% reservation cap raises questions about the Bill’s judicial viability.

Way Forward:

  • Addressing Socio-Economic Disparities: Moving forward, policymakers must prioritize efforts to address socio-economic disparities faced by the Maratha community. While reservation policies play a role in promoting inclusivity, they must be complemented by comprehensive socio-economic development initiatives aimed at uplifting marginalized communities.
  • Legal Clarity and Judicial Review: To ensure the effectiveness and legitimacy of reservation policies, it is imperative to adhere to legal standards and judicial precedent. Any deviation from established legal principles may undermine the credibility and viability of reservation initiatives. Therefore, policymakers should seek legal clarity and judicial review to safeguard the integrity of the reservation framework.