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Cabinet in process of tabling report on Maratha quota in House: Maharashtra government

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Mumbai | The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court Wednesday that it was in the process of tabling the State Backward Class Commission’s recommendations on the Maratha quota issue before the state legislature.

State’s counsel, Additional Government Pleader Abhinandan Vagyani, informed the court that the state Cabinet had received the recommendations from the commission and was mulling further action.”The state Cabinet is in the process of placing the report (the commission’s recommendations) before the House and taking other appropriate steps,” Vagyani said.

Following the state’s submission, a bench of Justices B P Dharamadhikari and Sarang Kotwal disposed of all pending litigations in the high court on the issue of reservation for the Maratha community.

The bench noted that the commission and the state had complied with the court’s previous orders on submission of such recommendations and therefore, there did not remain any need for further hearing on the pending petitions.

The bench was hearing a bunch of petitions filed between 2014 and 2015 after the then Congress-NCP government granted 16 per cent quota in government jobs and education to the Maratha community. While some of the petitions opposed the government’s decision, two petitions had sought immediate implementation of the quota.

In November 2014, in an interim order, a division bench of the Bombay High Court had stayed the then government’s decision to provide the 16 per cent quota, on the grounds that it was in breach of the Supreme Court’s order that prescribed an upper limit of 50 per cent for caste and community-based quota.

On August 7 this year, while hearing the same petitions, another division bench of the HC had directed the commission to complete its research on the issue and submit its recommendations to the state in a time-bound manner.

The bench, led by Justice Dharamadhikari, noted on Wednesday that since the above order had been complied with, the pleas could be disposed of. “Once the commission’s recommendations are placed before the legislature and made public, the petitioners can approach this court if they still have any grievances,” the bench said.

The Maratha community, which constitutes over 30 per cent of the state’s population, had held protests across the state earlier this year demanding quota in jobs and educational institutions. The state government had on Sunday announced that the Maratha community will be granted quota under a new category called ‘Socially and Educationally Backward Class’ (SEBC), as per the recommendation of the State Backward Class Commission. The government is yet to decide the quantum of reservation, though the Marathas are seeking 16 per cent quota.

State Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil had said on Tuesday that a decision on tabling the State Backward Class Commission’s report on the Maratha quota in the Assembly will be taken after seeking a legal opinion on it. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had demanded that the commission’s report be immediately tabled in the House for clarity on it.

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India invited as ‘Guest of Honour’ to OIC meet, Sushma Swaraj to attend

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Official sources said it was for the first time, India has been invited to an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting as a guest of honour.

 

New Delhi| In a significant move, India has been invited to the inaugural plenary of the foreign ministers’ conclave of the OIC, a powerful grouping of Muslim majority nations, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend it in Abu Dhabi next month as the ‘guest of honour’.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) called the invitation a “welcome recognition” of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world.

Official sources said it was for the first time, India has been invited to an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting as a guest of honour. The 46th Session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers will be held in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2.

The invitation to India by the OIC comes at a time when India has been mounting a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan to isolate it internationally following the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

The OIC has usually been supportive of Pakistan and, often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

The MEA said Foreign Minister of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan invited Swaraj as the ‘guest of honour’ to address the inaugural plenary and that India was happy to accept the invitation.

“We see this invitation as the desire of the enlightened leadership of the UAE to go beyond our rapidly growing close bilateral ties and forge a true multifaceted partnership at the multilateral and international level,” the MEA said in a release.

“We see this invitation as a milestone in our comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE. We also see this invitation as a welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world,” it said.

India is, therefore, happy to accept the invitation and thanked the leadership of the UAE for it, the ministry said.

Last year, Bangladesh proposed a restructuring of the charter of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to pave way for the inclusion of non-Muslim countries like India as an “observer state” of the 50-year old grouping.

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Assam hooch tragedy death toll mounts to 59, 200 taken ill

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Jorhat| At least 59 people have died and over 200 taken ill after consuming spurious liquor in tea gardens in Assam‘s Golaghat and Jorhat since Thursday night, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday.

The death toll is rising every minute, the minister said after visiting Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) here.

“This morning the death toll in Golaghat and Jorhat districts was 59 and 200 people have been admitted to hospitals. The death toll and the number of people admitted are changing minute by minute,” Sarma told reporters after meeting some patients at the hospital.

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100 cars gutted in fire at Aero India 2019 show in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru | More than 100 cars have been gutted in to fire at the parking lot near the Aero India Show held at the Yelahankha air base in Bengaluru.

According to a local eye witness, a grass fire spread to parking area number 5 and some vehicles which were parked there have also caught fire. The fire department has stated that around 80-100 cars gutted in fire near the venue of the Aero India Show in Bengaluru.

 

Officials stated that around 10 fire engines have rushed to the spot. Responding on the incident Senior police official MNReddi tweeted, “Fire in the open field parking lot of aero show. Nearly 20 cars burnt. Fire fighting operations by Chief Fire Officer and 10 water tenders staff underway.”

Earlier on Tuesday, one fighter pilot was killed after two Surya Kiran Aircraft crashed during the rehearsal of the Aero India Show.

 

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