Bombay HC to Not Stay Maharashtra Govt. Resolution to Scrap 33% Reservation in Public Offices

The rationale provided for the move, by the state was that instead of reservations, seniority would be considered for promotions. 


The Bombay HC has refused to stay the Maharashtra Govt decision to stop reservations in promotions in Public Offices.

On May 7th, the Maharashtra Govt. released a resolution which scrapped 33% reservation of promotion in public offices for Scehduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Vimukti Jati and Nomadic Tribes (VJNT) and Special Backward Classes (SBC).  The rationale provided for the move was that instead of reservations, seniority would be considered for promotions.

A bench consisting of Justice R D Dhanuka and Justice Madhav J Jamdar was hearing a number of petitions filed in response to the Government Resolution (GR) passed on May 7th. Indira Jaisingh, senior counsel representing one of the interveners of the GR, Sanjay Ghodke, said that the move, in a matter of one stroke, has de-reserved seats and infringed on the rights of reserved category persons. She goes on to mention how there is no proper justification or reasoning provided by the Govt for halting these reservations. In fact, the GR goes against a Supreme Court directive, which encourages states to “promote from reserved to reserved and unreserved to unreserved categories”. Additionally, the Maharashtra Govt even filed an affidavit to the SC  (dealing with a similar case), stating that it would follow through with the reserve to reserve promotion.

The bench has stated that the matter requires more consideration, as there are several other interveners on the matter. It has adjourned the matter to be heard till mid-June. The court however has mentioned that till then, any promotions made by the state in accordance with the GR will be subject to the order of the court.

In the past few years a number of  measures have been taken by the Center and state governments to reduce the scope and functionality of various forms of affirmative action. In a previous article on Gauri Lankesh News, we have spoken about how a Scholarship scheme for SC and ST women has been deemed unnecessary by a government funded research report. Earlier this year, a committee composed by the Center to look into implementation of reservations in the 23 IITs has even suggested that reservations for faculty positions be done away with, in the name of “maintaining academic excellence”. Again, the faulty and casteist logic of merit, is once more used to justify what is in actuality continued hegemony of upper castes in public offices and education.

The move to scrap the 33% reservation, came three days after the SC quashed the quota for the Maratha community in the state as well as reduced states powers to identify reserved categories for Backward Classes (BC) lists.  As Jaisingh has pointed out, the move clearly infringes on the rights and securities of SCs, STs, and others under reserved categories as well.


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May 2023


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