PIL in HC against Maharashtra govt's move to grant Kunbi caste certificates to Marathas

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Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court

Mumbai:  A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the Maharashtra government's move to grant Kunbi caste certificates to the Maratha community members in the state.

The PIL, filed on Tuesday by one Mangesh Sasane, who claims to be the chairman of the 'OBC Welfare Foundation', said the state government by granting Kunbi certificates to the Maratha community was "eating into" the reservation of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The petition is likely to come up for hearing on February 6, as per the HC's website.

The plea challenges five government resolutions issued in 2004 permitting the Marathas to seek Kunbi caste certificates.

"Earlier, the process of granting Kunbi certificates to Marathas was difficult but with every agitation, the process was made easier. This was just to facilitate the Marathas (for reservation)," the petitioner's advocate Ashish Mishra claimed.

The petition said that in 2021, the Supreme Court declared the Maharashtra government's decision granting reservation to Marathas as unconstitutional.

"Now the government, by permitting the Marathas to get Kunbi certificate and enjoy reservation benefits, is giving them backdoor entry," Mishra claimed.

On January 20, Maratha reservation activist Manoj Jarange-Patil began a march to Mumbai from Antarwali Sarathi in Jalna, demanding the issuance of Kunbi certificates to all Marathas, which would entitle them to benefits under the quota earmarked for the OBCs.

The state government recently issued a draft notification stating that blood relatives of a Maratha person, who has records to show he belongs to the Kunbi community, would also be recognised as Kunbi.

An agrarian community, Kunbi falls in the OBC category, and Jarange, spearheading the agitation for reservation for the Marathas since last August, has been demanding Kunbi certificates for all Marathas to enable them to avail quota benefits in government jobs and education.

Soon after the government issued the notification, the activist called off his march to Mumbai.

The government has invited suggestions and objections to the notification till February 16.