Reservation for Marathas in Maharashtra government jobs and education institutes is constitutionally correct but should be reduced from 16 per cent to 12-13 per cent, said the Bombay High Court on Thursday.
"We hold and declare that the state government possesses legislative competence to create a separate category of the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) and grant reservation," said a bench comprising Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre.
The court said the reservation should be reduced as recommended by the State Backward Classes Commission.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging Maharashtra government's decision granting 16 per cent reservation to Marathas.
On November 30, 2018, the Maharashtra legislature passed a bill granting 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for the Marathas, declared a socially and educationally backward class by the state government.
The reservation will be in addition to the existing 52 per cent overall reservation in the state. With the 16 per cent reservation for Marathas, the reservation quantum in the state was expected to rise to 68 per cent.
Petitions argued that the government's decision violated the Supreme Court's orders which say that reservation in any state should not exceed more than 50 per cent.
The state government, while defending its decision, had said that it was meant to alleviate the Maratha community, which it said was socially and economically backward.