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Sources close to the meeting that was held in Sholapur to let former AG Thorat appear in the case confirmed that such a decision was taken as Thorat was a Maratha by caste and AG Kumbhakoni was not.
After a former standing counsel alleged that Maharashtra Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni was responsible for the Supreme Court verdict against Maratha reservation, the AG has cleared the air, saying that it was the erstwhile BJP government that did not want him to argue the case.
On September 9, a Supreme Court Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat held that prima facie, Maharashtra has not shown any extraordinary situation for providing reservation to the Maratha community in excess of 50 per cent. The Court held that the quota will not be applicable to jobs and admissions in educational institutions in the interim.
The Court had also referred a batch of petitions challenging the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, which provides for reservation in employment and education to the Maratha community, to a larger bench.
Soon after the verdict, the state’s former standing counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar claimed that AG Kumbhakoni had not argued for the state even once in either the Bombay High Court or the Supreme Court.
However, speaking to Bar & Bench, AG Kumbhakoni stated that he only respected the decision of the then Devendra Fadnavis-led government to stay out of the case.
Maharashtra AG Ashutosh Kumbhakoni
Sources close to the meeting that was held in Sholapur to let Thorat appear in the case confirmed to Bar & Bench that such a decision was indeed taken, as Thorat was a Maratha by caste and AG Kumbhakoni was not.
While blaming the AG for the debacle in the Apex Court, Katneshwarkar stated that the verdict was "shocking" for the people of Maharashtra.
Some of the sources close to the AG's office speculate that one of reasons why Katneshwarkar has blamed Kumbhakoni for the verdict is more because he is no longer standing counsel.
Source told Bar & Bench
While stating that he was not to be blamed for the Supreme Court verdict, AG Kumbhakoni also claimed that after the Bombay High Court verdict upholding the SEBC Act, then CM Devendra Fadnavis had thanked legal experts, including the AG and his office, for their efforts. Fadnavis had also informed the Assembly that the High Court had not only upheld the quota, but also refused to stay the operation of its decision, paving the way for the law's immediate implementation in Maharashtra.