Mumbai: Maharashtra Minister Chandrakant Patil Monday said once the Marathas have been classified as "backward" by a commission, there will not be any hurdle in raising the quota limit beyond 50 per cent set by the Supreme Court.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday said the Maharashtra government has accepted the State Backward Class Commission's report and decided to give quota in jobs and educational institutes to the Maratha community.
The reservation will be granted to the community under a new category called 'Socially and Educationally Backward Class' (SEBC) as per the recommendation of the commission, he said.
Quantum of reservation has not been fixed yet, he said.
Maratha groups are demanding 16 per cent reservation, which if accepted, will breach the 50 per cent quota ceiling set by the apex court.
Patil said, "There were multiple commissions set up by the state, but none granted backward status to the Maratha community, which constitutes around 30 per cent of the states 11 crore population."
Asked about any legal hurdle in implementing quota for the community, he said, "Once the commission has admitted that Marathas are backward, then there will not be any obstacle of the Supreme Court defined framework of keeping the reservation under 50 per cent of the total seats."
Patil was talking to reporters in Pandharpur town of Solapur district where he performed puja at the Lord Vitthal temple as part of a long-held state custom.
The revenue minister said he sought blessings of Lord Vitthal for granting reservation to the Marathas and also effectively combating the drought-like situation prevailing in the state.
"The challenge of growing water and fodder scarcity in the state is looming. The state has initiated measures for increasing fodder but we need a good spell of rains," Patil said.
Asked whether the proposed reservation for Marathas will cross the 50 per cent ceiling, Fadnavis had said the commission had described the condition of Maratha community as "extraordinary and exceptional".
"Even though the case of Tamil Nadu, where the reservation has crossed 50 per cent mark, is pending in the apex court, it has not been struck down. We are confident of extending reservation to Marathas," he had said.