Gujjars Current Affairs
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The Rajasthan Assembly passed Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in State and of Appointment and Posts in Services under State) Bill, 2017 by voice vote
The bill seeks to provide 5% reservation to Gujjars and four other nomadic communities viz. Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Raika and Gadariya in state government jobs and educational institutions as Other Backward Classes (OBCs). It increases reservation for OBCs from 21% to 26%. It also creates new most backward category within OBCs for providing quota benefit to Gujjars and four other nomadic communities. With passage of bill, reservation in Rajasthan now stands at 54%, exceeding 50% ceiling mandated by Supreme Court.
Earlier also Rajasthan Assembly had passed Special Backward Classes Act 2015 to provide 5% reservation for these castes by creating a separate Special Backward Castes category. However, Rajasthan High Court had struck down the legislation saying that quota cannot not only exceed 50% limit set by Supreme Court. It also pointed out flaws in government’s process of granting additional 5% reservation for these castes and held that it is not supported by quantifiable data supporting the claim of Gujjars’ backwardness.
The Rajasthan High Court has scrapped the Rajasthan Special Backward Classes (SBC) Reservation Act, 2015 that provided 5% quota to five communities, including Gujjars in jobs and education.
The verdict was given on bunch of writ petitions challenging the 2015 Act on grounds of violation of Supreme Court mandated limit of 50% on reservation.
- State government had given the reservation illegally to five communities and declared SBC Reservation Act, 2015 and its notification unconstitutional.
- It has failed to consider Article 16(4B) of the Constitution, which forbids reservation exceeding 50%.
In this case, Rajasthan High Court had used Supreme Court verdict pronounced in Indra Sahwney case (Mandal Commission) which had set ceiling of 50% in quotas.
In September 2015, Rajasthan State Assembly had SBC reservation bill along with a separate Bill for giving 14% reservation to Economically Backward Classes (EBC). Both bills had received assent of Governor Kalyan Singh. The SBC Reservation Act had given 5% reservation to Gujjars, Banjara, Gadia Lohar, Raika and Gadariya communities in jobs and education. It was notified after the repeal of the controversial legislation of 2008 on the same subject. However, state government had not notified the law on EBC quota.