The Maharashtra government has decided to extend the benefit of reservation in education and jobs to the members of the Maratha community, who had applied under it in 2014.
The government said it would complete the process of quota for Marathas, which had remained incomplete after the high court stayed it in 2014.
The BJP-led government's decision is significant in view of the upcoming Assembly elections some months away.
A government resolution (GR) issued by the chief minister-led General Administration Department Thursday stated that reservation will be applicable to those who had applied for it between July 9, 2014 and November 14, 2014.
On June 27, Bombay High Court ruled that the reservation extended by the state government to the community by categorising them as a Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) was valid. On the basis of the court order, 13 per cent of posts in recruitment for government jobs and 12 per cent of all seats in educational institutions have been reserved for the community.
The GR said an ordinance granting 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas had initially been issued on July 9, 2014 by the previous Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government. But on November 14, 2014, the court had stayed it.
After coming to power in 2014, the Devendra Fadnavis government had first cleared a legislation in this regard. But the recruitment process was again stayed by HC on April 7, 2015.
After commissioning a fresh survey to establish the social and educational backwardness of the Maratha community, the government had cleared a new legislation in November 2018, which was been held valid by the high court.
The GR said the new legislation contained provisions clearly stating that the selection process, recruitment carried out or in process, and advertisements for the reserved seats brought out as per the old legislation would be completed.
The GR said quota extended to the community between July 9, 2014, when the initial ordinance was issued, and November 11, 2014, when the court had stayed the implementation, will continue to be in force.
It also said that jobs given to members from the open category on the now reserved posts following the court's stay orders in 2014 and 2015 would be withdrawn.
The Supreme Court Friday sought the state government's response on pleas challenging the high court order that upheld the Maratha quota in education and jobs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not stay the Bombay High Court order upholding the constitutional validity of the Maratha quota law, but made it clear that the aspect allowing the reservation for Marathas with a retrospective effect from 2014 would not be made operational.
Reacting to the development, state Higher Education Minister Vinod Tawde said the SC has not stayed the quota despite a demand from the petitioners.
"Similarly, the Act is not being implemented with retrospective effect. Only those who had applied during the time when the earlier ordinance was in force till the high court struck it down will be accommodated," he said.