Maharashtra: PIL filed against controversial changes made to Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Scholarship Scheme

The Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Scholarship Scheme provides financial assistance to SC and Neo-Buddhist boys and girls for pursuing master's and research (PhD) courses abroad
PIL filed in the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay HC
PIL filed in the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay HC

Today, June 14, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed against the recent policy changes in Maharashtra’s Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Scholarship Scheme at the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court. “We have challenged the three unconstitutional new rules of the scholarship scheme as per a government regulation (GR) released this year,” said the petitioner, Rajiv Khobragade, a member of an NGO called The Platform. 

The Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj Scholarship Scheme provides financial assistance to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Neo-Buddhist boys and girls for pursuing master's and research (PhD) courses abroad. 

The three controversial new conditions include a cap of Rs 30 lakh for master's courses and Rs 40 lakh for PhDs for SC students, whereas, earlier, scholarships provided full coverage. Additionally, eligibility is now limited by an annual income cap of Rs 8 lakh. Furthermore, the academic performance threshold has been raised from 55% to 75% from Class X through graduation/post-graduation, a change that has sparked debates about accessibility.

“We have been working on this since the inception of this GR and filed the PIL after the scholarship application advertisement was released,” said Rajiv, who has also advocated for economically disadvantaged and minority students in Odisha and other states.

The PIL has been requested for an urgent hearing, with Advocate Shekhar Samaan representing Rajiv. The case is expected to be listed on Tuesday, June 18.

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