Bombay HC had stayed Maharashtra government's decision to give 16% reservation to Marathas and 5% to Muslims in public service
The Bombay High Court on Friday stayed Maharashtra government's decision before polls to give 16% reservation to Marathas and 5% to Muslims in public service. The 5% reservation given to Muslims in educational institutions would continue, the HC said.
Reacting to the HC decision, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the state government has decided to approach the Supreme Court against the stay. "The state government is fully supportive of Maratha quota. We will appeal in SC on the HC ruling. We will take measures to ensure that the quota remains," Fadnavis told reporters in Mumbai.
The decision to give reservation to Marathas was taken by the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government. The combine, with an eye on assembly elections after severe drubbing in Lok Sabha polls, on 25th June had approved 16% reservation for Marathas and 5% for Muslims in government jobs and education institutions.
Earlier on 5th August, the HC had directed the state government to file an affidavit by 19th August in reply to some public interest litigations (PILs). The PIL challenged the government resolution (GR) issued for granting reservation of Marathas and Muslims.
Four PILs had been filed in the Court, challenging the Maharashtra government’s decision to grant reservation to the Maratha and Muslim community. One petition has claimed that the reservation to Muslims is unconstitutional, as the Constitution does not permit religion-based reservation.
Former journalist Ketan Tirodkar who has filed one of the PILs had argued that communities were not backward, and Marathas were in fact dominant in many sectors. He told the Court that 75% of cooperative sugar factories, about 75% educational institutes in Maharashtra were controlled by Marathas. Also, 75%of the land in the state was owned by the Maratha community, he had claimed.
With the additional 21% quotas for the politically influential Maratha community and Muslims, reservation in jobs and educational institutions in Maharashtra have gone up to 73%.
Earlier, senior advocate Pradeep Sancheti, appearing for the NGO Youth For Equality, another petitioner, had argued that as per the Supreme Court's guidelines aggregate reservations cannot exceed 50%, and a religion cannot be a basis for providing reservations.
After completion of the project, Maharashtra government will be able to ensure home delivery of 7/12 land extracts for farmers and hopes to curb corruption at lower levels
The Maharashtra Government will soon launch a Rs4,000-crore satellite imaging project to map all land in the state and prepare digital records of land holdings.
Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse told reporters, “We have decided to undertake an ambitious Rs4,000-crore project for satellite mapping of land in the State”.
“During a meeting of officials at Mantralaya, we were told that the project will take five years to complete but we want to finish it much before that period,” Khadse said.
The satellite imaging would include that of land used for agriculture, industry and also urban land, he added.
The last comprehensive land mapping exercise was undertaken 150 years ago under British rule. Now we want to use technology to get an accurate picture, which will help bring in transparency in land transactions, he said.
The project would be taken up under a centrally-funded scheme.
The previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) regime had initiated a similar exercise but it did not progress, he said.
“I spoke to (Union Minister) Nitin Gadkari who handled the department concerned earlier. I will speak to the new central minister who handles it now,” Khadse said.
“The state government, after completion of the project, will be able to ensure home delivery of 7/12 land extracts for farmers," the minister said.
The entire state land data will be computerised and be made available online.
The project will also help curb corruption at lower levels where amounts ranging from a few hundred to thousands of rupees are sought to provide documents, he said.
“We will issue necessary directives to treat computer printouts of land records as valid after the mapping exercise,” Khadse said.
Meanwhile, an official said the government will review the land-mapping system used in the Bangalore civic body limits and also the one in the UAE before finalising a vendor for the project.
The CBI, which is probing the multi-crore Saradha Ponzi scam said it will ask jail authorities about Kunal Ghosh suicide attempt and how he got access to sleeping pills to commit suicide
Kunal Ghosh, the suspended member of Parliament (MP) from Trinamool Congress and accused in the multi-crore Saradha Friday allegedly tried to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills inside the Alipore Central Jail. Meanwhile voicing concern over the alleged suicide attempt by Ghosh, the special crime branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it ask jail authorities how he got access to the medicines.
Speaking with reporters, West Bengal Correctional Home Services Minister HA Swafi said, "Kunal Ghosh claimed that he has taken sleeping pills to commit suicide. He later on called the doctor and they found everything to be normal but still as a precautionary measure we did not take any chance and got him admitted to the SSKM Hospital".
Ghosh has been admitted to a state-run hospital.
Doctors there have kept Ghosh, an accused in the Saradha scam, under observation.
It is a matter of 'great concern' and 'very difficult' to understand how Ghosh got access to medicines and subsequently allegedly tried to commit suicide after consuming medicines, CBI sources had said.
"We will certainly write to the jail authorities to know how the medicines reached him and will also inform the court," the sources said.
The special crime branch of CBI had arrested Ghosh on 23 November 2013 for his alleged involvement in the Saradha ponzi scam.
Ghosh, who is in jail custody and lodged in Presidency correctional home along with Saradha chief Sudipta Sen and his associate Debjani Mukherjee, had been named in the preliminary charge sheet filed by CBI.
A former CEO of Saradha group firm Bengal Media Ltd, Ghosh had threatened to commit suicide when he was produced before a city court on 10th November if CBI did not take 'proper action' against those involved within three days.
He had during earlier court hearings accused some top leaders from Trinamool Congress of having benefited from the scam.