High Court stays Jat reservation bill approved by Haryana Government

Protests left around 30 people dead and 320 injured, apart from huge damages worth around Rs. 340 billion
Protests left around 30 people dead and 320 injured, apart from huge damages worth around Rs. 340 billion

Responding to the PIL filed by Murari Lal Gupta, the Punjab and Haryana High Court announced stay on the 10 percent reservation for Jats and five other communities in government jobs and admission in educational institutions. Haryana government had decided to extend the reservation for Jats by introducing a new category Backward Classes (C) following the violent protests across the state and subsequently the bill was passed by state assembly on March 29. The Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Bill, 2016 hikes reservation in the state above the 50 percent cap fixed by the apex court. ML Gupta, a resident of Bhiwani, challenged the decision, terming it against the constitution.

Advocate Mukesh Kumar Verma, appearing on the behalf of petitioner, argued in the court that the act hereupon brought by the state government violates the distribution of powers of judiciary and legislative. He said the act had been enacted on the basis of Justice KC Gupta Commission report and as the report was earlier rejected by the Supreme Court, the government’s decision stands contrary to the constitutional powers. It was also argued in the court that when the apex court had mentioned that Jats could not be treated as backward (socially, educationally and politically), then the state legislature had no right to pass the act. He also mentioned that only judiciary can revise the decision and not state legislature.

Following the aftermath of increased reservation quota, Haryana government had also notified the Haryana Backward Classes Commission Act, 2016 to set up a permanent statutory mechanism with the major objective to examine requests of inclusion and complaints of over-exclusion and under-inclusion of backward classes. The quota bill approved by the state government includes Jats and other five castes: Jat Sikhs, Rors, Bishnois, Tyagis and Muslim Jats in Backward Classes (C) cateogry. Backward Classes (A) and (B) category already includes around 77 castes.

The castes included in the (C) category are entitled for 10 percent reservation in Class III and IV posts and 6 percent reservation in Class I and II posts, apart from 10 percent reservation for admission in educational institutions.

The High Court also issued a notice to the state government for submitting its reply by July 21.

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