14 Aug 2023 4:25 AM GMT
The Madhya Pradesh High Court, in a recent development, issued a stay on further appointments involving a 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) that surpasses the 50% reservation cap.The decision came after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by the organization Youth For Equality, which highlighted a significant concern related to the violation of the Constitution and...
The Madhya Pradesh High Court, in a recent development, issued a stay on further appointments involving a 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) that surpasses the 50% reservation cap.
The decision came after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by the organization Youth For Equality, which highlighted a significant concern related to the violation of the Constitution and legal precedents set by the Apex Court. The order was passed by a bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and Amar Nath (Kesharwani).
The matter revolved around the issuance of an impugned letter by the GAD, Government of M.P, which directed that ongoing recruitment processes initiated by the State or its affiliated bodies, not constrained by any interim judicial order limiting reservation to 50%, could proceed and conclude while applying an increased reservation of 27% to the Other Backward Class (OBC) category. This action was contested on the grounds that it exceeded the 50% reservation cap established by various decisions of the Apex Court under Article 141 of the Constitution.
During the proceedings, the counsel representing the petitioner sought interim relief and referred to several judgments from both the Apex Court and High Courts. Notably, references were made to the case of Indra Sawhney and others vs. Union of India and others (1992 Suppl.(3) SCC 217), Dr. Jishri Laxmanarao Patil vs. Chief Minister of the State of Maharashtra and another ((2019) 4 AIR Bom R 684), and Dr. Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil vs. Chief Minister and others ((2021) 8 SCC 1).
In response, the State's counsel raised objections regarding the maintainability of the petition. It was argued that the issue primarily pertained to a service-related matter and should not be addressed through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) route. Additionally, it was contended that the petitioner lacked the standing to raise the issue. He also highlighted that interim relief had already been granted in accordance with an order dated 20.09.2021, rendering the request for interim relief in the current petition unnecessary.
Reliance was placed on the decision of State of Uttaranchal Vs. Balwant Singh Chaufal and Ors., AIR 2010 SC 2550 (para 198.3 and 198.8) to emphasize that PIL ought not to be entertained casually without verifying the credentials of petitioner and genuineness of the cause shown.
The Court observed that, on September 16, 2021, during the initial hearing of the case, notices were issued and the Advocate General accepted the notice without any further direction for process fee payment.
Subsequently, on September 20, 2021, the case was scheduled to be heard alongside W.P. No. 5901 of 2019. The Court directed that the interim relief, which had been granted earlier, would continue until the next hearing. However, it was clarified that no interim relief had actually been granted on September 16, 2021.
The Court proceeded to evaluate the question of interim relief based on the arguments presented by the counsels of the opposing parties. The objection regarding the petitioner's locus raised by the State was discussed, and the Court referred to a previous case, Dr. Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil vs. Chief Minister and others, (2021) 8 SCC 1, wherein it was held that issues related to breaching the 50% cap fixed for reservation could impact a significant number of individuals, suggesting a genuine public cause. However, the Court left room for the State to raise this objection at a later stage.
The court noted, "It is not disputed at the Bar by learned counsel for rival parties that large number of petitions in regard to various recruitments commenced by different departments of the State and its instrumentalities have been entertained by this Court and interim orders have been passed to the extent of restraining the State from exceeding the limit of 14% of reservation in favour of OBC."
"The challenge herein is to Annexure P/2 dated 02.09.2021 which is based on the opinion of learned Advocate General of State of M.P. that reservation to OBC category candidates can be provided to the extent of 27% in cases which are not covered by interim orders passed by this Court. Since, there is no interim order in the present petition, the prayer for interim relief is sought by petitioner to the extent contained in Para 8 of the petition," the court further noted.
While placing reliance on the Apex Court’s decision in the cases of Indra Sawhney (Supra) and Dr. Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil (Supra), the Court emphasized that they have repeatedly held in one voice that the maximum limit of vertical reservation should not exceed 50%, and that these judgments are law of the land under Article 141 of the Constitution and are binding upon all including the State and its functionaries.
“Accordingly, petitioner has made out case for interim relief. 3.1. By way of interim relief, it is directed that operation and effect of impugned executive instructions dated 02.09.2021 issued by GAD, Government of M.P., Bhopal permitting 27% of reservation to OBC, shall remain stayed till the next date of hearing,” the court directed.
The case is now scheduled to be taken up alongside W.P. No. 5901 of 2019 in the first week of September 2023.
Case Title: Youth For Equality Vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh And Others
Case No.: WP No. 18105 of 2021
Appearance: Shri Anshuman Singh and Rohan Harne - Advocate for the petitioner.
Shri Ashish Anand Barnrd - Additional Advocate General
Shri Darshan Soni and Shri Piyush Jain - Government Advocate for the State. Shri Rameshwar Singh Thakur and Shri Vinayak Prasad Shah - Special Advocates for the State
Shri Rahul Diwakar - Advocate for the M.P. Professional Board
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