MARATHA RESERVATION (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     7th September 2023        

Context: Recently, in response to the Maratha reservation protesters' demands, the Maharashtra government has opted to issue Kunbi caste certificates to all Marathas hailing from Marathwada who can produce Nizam-era documents recognizing them as Kunbis.

Maratha Reservation

  • Background: In 2018, the Maharashtra government formed a nine-member State Backward Class Commission, led by Justice M.G. Gaikwad, which recommended reservation status for the Maratha community.
  • In the same year (2018), the Maharashtra government passed a law that allocated 16 percent reservation in employment opportunities and educational admissions to the Maratha community.
  • This law categorized the Maratha community as a socially and educationally backward class (SEBC).
  • Judgment of Supreme Court: The court held that the 2018 act goes against Articles 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution. It exceeds the ceiling of 50% reservation set by the 1992 Indra Sawhney judgment.

Kunbi Community

  • The Kunbi community in Maharashtra is associated with agriculture-related occupation and are grouped under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in the state.
  • Giving Marathas Kunbi caste certificates would mean that Marathas would be counted as OBCs and would get the benefit of reservation that OBCs get.