Maha mulls refunding fee to Maratha Quota medical students
Mumbai: With the Supreme Court stay on Maratha quota in effect, the Maharashtra government is mulling over on the option of reimbursing fees of students who would have benefited with the quota in admissions to medical colleges.
The confirmation to this effect was given in an announcement made by the state medical education minister, Amit Deshmukh recently where he stated that
The Supreme Court in September this year stayed the implementation of Maratha quota in jobs and education and referred the matter to a larger bench.
The Maharashtra government later filed an application before a larger bench of the SC, seeking vacation of the stay on implementation of the quota.
The state government is thinking of how students who have been affected by the Supreme Court's interim stay on implementation of Maratha quota can be given relief in admissions to medical education, Deshmukh told a TV channel, quotes PTI
Asked if the government will reimburse their fees, he said, "...this (reimbursing fees) could be an option and the proposal will be moved before the cabinet by the medical education department."
"Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ji will take a final call on the same after the cabinet discusses it," he said.
Deshmukh proposed reimbursing the fees of students who would have benefited from the quota in government medical colleges. If these students seek admission to private colleges under the open category, their fees can be reimbursed as an interim relief, he said, quotes TOI
Deshmukh also said the Maha Vikas Aghadi government -- comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress -- is committed to ensure that Maratha community students do not suffer.
In 2019, the Devendra Fadnavis-led government had decided to reimburse the fees of 112 meritorious students from the open category who were displaced after the implementation of the Maratha quota. The amount was disbursed recently by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, in Deshmukh's term. The state set aside Rs 33 crore to fund the education of these 112 students in private colleges for four and a half years.
Deshmukh further informed TOI the state can extend a similar benefit again, only this time to those who would have benefitted from a possible Maratha quota. If the proposal is accepted, the benefit can be extended to other professional courses as well.
"The state already subsidises 50% fees of students whose annual family incomes are less than Rs 8 lakh. This may have to be extended to 100% to students who were to benefit from the SEBC quota," said Deshmukh.
As per the SEBC Act, 12% seats are reserved for students from the Maratha community in government and private educational institutions. Of the total seats in government medical colleges, around 450 seats would have been reserved for Maratha students.
The Supreme Court in September stayed the implementation of 2018 Maharashtra law granting reservation to Marathas in education and jobs, but made it clear that the status of those who have availed of the benefits will not be disturbed.
"The state government is committed to the needs of the Maratha community and at the same time it will also have to honour the Supreme Court ruling… Not just medical, but no admissions can be put on hold for long now. The state's policy decision is expected soon," Deshmukh said, adding that students are already bearing with academic losses on account of the pandemic.
The Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018 was enacted to grant reservation to people of Maratha community in Maharashtra in jobs and admissions.
The Bombay High Court, while upholding the law in June last year, held that 16 per cent reservation was not justifiable, and said quota should not exceed 12 per cent in employment and 13 per cent in admissions.