In a setback to the Rajasthan Government, the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, restrained it from exceeding the 50% ceiling in providing reservations to Gujjars and other communities under the OBC category.
The Court was hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by the State, challenging an order passed by the High Court, which had stayed a new State legislation titled Rajasthan Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the state and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the state) Bill, 2017.
The High Court had been petitioned by former MLA Ganga Sahay Sharma, who had pointed out that the Bill intends to increase OBC quota in the state from 21% to 26%. This would have the effect of increasing the total reservation in state government jobs and education institutes to 54%.
The Bill was passed last month, in view of the long pending demand by Gujjars and four other communities to create a separate quota of 5% for them. To this end, it creates a subdivision, "more backward classes", within the OBC category to allow 5% quota for Gujjars, Banjaras, Gadia-Lohars, Raikas and Gadariyas.
A Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, however, opined that the High Court order staying the legislative process was "totally uncalled for" and hence, stayed that part of the impugned order.
It then restrained the State from breaching the ceiling and ruled, "However, taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case and various decisions of this Court, we are inclined to restrain the State Government from taking any action or decision on the administrative side or in any manner conferring the benefit of reservation, which will have the result of crossing the total reservation beyond 50%."
The Supreme Court also clarified that its order would be in force till the petition challenging constitutional validity of the law is decided by the HC.