Marathas Current Affairs - 2019

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Maratha quota valid but should be reduced: Bombay HC

Bombay High Court (HC) upheld the reservation for Maratha community in government jobs and education constitutional valid but suggested to reduce the quota percentage from present 16% to 12-13%.

Key Highlights of Judgment

The reduced quota limit suggested by Bombay HC is as recommended by State Backward Classes Commission.

Legislative Competence: As per HC, state government possesses legislative competence to create a separate category of Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) and grant reservation.

The court was hearing petitions challenging Maharashtra government’s decision granting 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions.

Background

On 30 November 2018, following the state wide agitations by Maratha Community, the Maharashtra legislature passed a bill granting 16% reservation in education and government jobs for Marathas.  Maratha Community was also declared a socially and educationally backward class by government.

The government defended its decision by stating that quota was meant to alleviate Maratha community, which was socially and economically backward.

Petition:

HC gave the judgment upon hearing a bunch of petitions which challenged Maharashtra government’s quota decision of granting 16% reservation to Marathas.

The petitions argued that reservation provided violates the Supreme Court’s orders which states that reservation in any state should not exceed more than 50% per cent.

However, reservation to Marathas will be in addition to the existing 52% overall reservation in state and with additional 16% reservation, reservation quantum in state was expected to rise to 68%.

Kashi Vishwanath Corridor

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone for the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor. The project envisions a massive makeover of the holy shrine and its surrounding areas. This massive makeover is the first after the 1780 AD when the Maratha queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore renovated the temple and the area surrounding it.

About the Project

  • The proposed 50-feet corridor will directly connect Ganga’s Manikarnika and Lalita Ghat to the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple.
  • Along the corridor, pilgrims and travellers will see a newly built museum and depicting Varanasi’s ancient history and culture
  • New Yagyashalas for religious functions like havan and yagya are proposed under the
  • The project also includes lodgings for priests, volunteers and pilgrims together with an enquiry centre to help the tourists about the city and its other places of attractions and amenities
  • A massive auditorium for gatherings, meetings and temple functions.
  • Food Street to serve tourists and pilgrims luscious Banarasi and Awadhi dishes.
  • The total cost of the project is pegged at Rs 600 crore.

The Kashi Vishwanath temple located on the left bank of the holy river Ganga is surrounded by narrow and small, claustrophobic lanes. As a result, it struggles to manage humongous crowds in its congested lanes during festive times, which is literally round the year. The corridor will ease the congestion and provide the pilgrims and travellers other amenities such as wider and cleaner roads and lanes, better lighting with bright street lights, and clean drinking water.