While the government had planned a major event to distribute the appointment letters, it was learnt that only CM Eknath Shinde handed over the letters with Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis cancelling all his events for the day. The police also detained a Maratha activist, Aba Patil, for creating a ruckus at the event.
The Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) had in 2019 issued advertisements for applications to 1,143 posts in the Maharashtra Engineering Services in different government departments. Several of these posts were reserved for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category.
The 111 candidates whose appointment letters were withheld had originally been selected under the Socially and Economically Backward Class (SEBC) category, but after the Supreme Court cancelled the SEBC category it was decided that they would be issued appointment orders under the EWS category quota, the validity of which was recently upheld by the SC.
Thursday’s high court interim order was passed on a petition filed on Wednesday by A M Havshette and two others from the EWS category, through advocate Sayyed Yaseen, which challenged an November 29 order of the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) rejecting their plea to stop appointments based on a revised list in which the SEBC candidates were allowed to get the benefit of the EWS quota.
The petitioners expressed their fear before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja that they would be prejudiced as the state had extended the facility to enable the SEBC to change their reservation category to EWS and was accommodating them under a revised select list. The plea was to set aside the MAT order, which did not interfere in the state plans to hand out appointment letters on November 30. The other plea was to stay the issuance of appointment letters to all the candidates selected for the Maharashtra Engineering Services pending final hearing of its challenge.
The EWS petitioners had earlier challenged before the MAT the decision that SEBC candidates would be permitted to convert to EWS for appointment to the public posts.
For the state, special senior counsel Mihir Desai with government pleader P P Kakade said the petitioners are concerned only with the EWS quota or 111 seats in that quota and they cannot stall everything on the grounds that they might be affected in future.