Maharashtra Assembly Thursday unanimously passed a bill proposing 16 per cent reservation for Marathas under socially and educationally backward category.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who tabled the bill, thanked Opposition members for helping in the passage of the bill unanimously.

The bill provides for reservation of seats for admission in educational institutions and posts in public services to Marathas who have been declared as socially and educationally backward class of citizens.

Earlier, Fadnavis also tabled the action taken report (ATR) on the State Backward Class Commission’s (SBCC) recommendations for reservation to the Maratha community in government jobs and education.

He also tabled the recommendations of the SBCC’s report on social, educational and financial status of the Maratha community.

Marathas have been declared as socially and educationally backward class of citizens (SEBC) and have inadequate representation in services under the state, the panel report said.

They are entitled to reservation benefits and advantages enshrined in the Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution, it said.

The panel had suggested that looking at exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situations generated on declaring Marathas as socially and educationally backward and their consequential entitlement to reservation benefits, the government may take appropriate decision within constitutional provision to address the emerging scenario in the state.

The Bill to provide for reservation of seats for admission in educational institutions and posts in public services in the state was tabled thereafter.

Maratha reservation issue figured prominently during the Monsoon Session of the Assembly held in Nagpur in June 2018.

The Maratha community, which comprises over 30 per cent of the state’s population, has been seeking reservation in government jobs and education for a long time. Their stir for the same in July and August this year had taken a violent turn.

Violent protests were reported from different parts of Maharashtra in July after agitators took the streets demanding reservation for Maratha community in government jobs and education.

The protest turned ugly as Maratha Kranti Morcha workers set ablaze a truck in Aurangabad’s Gangapur. Tyres were burnt in front of the Osmanabad collector’s office and train services were blocked in Parbhani district.

Following this, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government would provide 16 per cent reservation in government jobs to the Maratha community. He also said a recruitment drive would be taken up for 72,000 people once Maratha reservation got constitutional and legal sanction, promising “no injustice” to the Maratha community.

The Maratha community in support of its demands first took to the streets on August 9, 2016. A silent procession was taken out in Aurangabad.

(With PTI inputs)