Maharashtra Guv BS Koshyari signs bill providing 27% quota to OBCs in local body polls

Mumbai: A potential face-off between the Raj Bhavan and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government was averted as Governor B S Koshyari signed the bill passed by the Maharashtra legislature to provide 27 per cent political reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in local bodies, which is below the 50 per cent quota ceiling on Tuesday.
A delegation led by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar met the governor to seek his approval. After the meeting, Pawar said the governor had signed the bill, which would now be sent to the President for his assent.
The governor has also signed the Shakti Bill passed by the state legislature, which aims to curb the crimes against women. This too will be forwarded for Presidential assent.
Earlier, the state government had issued an ordinance giving reservation to OBCs in local bodies. The ordinance was later stayed by the Supreme Court. Rural Development Minister Hasan Mushrif had tabled the bill. As a result of the stay granted by the apex court, there would have been virtually no reservation for OBCs in the coming local body polls.
On September 23 last year, the state had promulgated an ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961, and the Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act for Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayats, to ensure up to 27 per cent quota for OBC candidates.
The ordinance was issued after the apex court struck down a legal provision that granted similar reservation on the grounds that it exceeded the 50 per cent ceiling on quota.
On October 1, the state promulgated a second ordinance to amend the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, and Maharashtra Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchayats and the Industrial Townships Act.
The OBC reservation in local bodies in the state was stayed after a Supreme Court order on March 4, 2021, staying elections to the OBC seats in Maharashtra and asking the government to fulfil the triple test before notifying the seats reserved for the OBC category. The SC’s triple test includes the setting up a dedicated commission for collecting empirical data on the OBC population, specifying the proportion of reservation and ensuring that the cumulative share of reserved seats does not breach 50 per cent of total seats.
Meanwhile, Samata Parishad Founder and NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the government would submit the report on OBC data by the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission in the Supreme Court on February 8.
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