The Gujarat High Court on Thursday quashed a state ordinance on 10 per cent quota for economically backward classes among the unreserved category, in a setback to BJP government which had taken the step to pacify the agitating Patel community.
Keeping the 2017 assembly elections in mind, the Anandiben Patel government had issued a notifcation on 1 May, 2016 granting 10% quota for EBCs in higher education and government jobs.
Terming the ordinance issued on May 1 as “inappropriate and unconstitutional”, a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi said that such quota is not a classification, as claimed by the government, but it is indeed reservation.
The court also observed that 10 per cent reservation for poor among the unreserved category takes the total quota beyond 50 per cent, which is not permitted as per the Supreme Court’s earlier decision.
The high court also said that state government gave the reservation to EBCs without any study or scientific data.
The state government pleader requested the court to stay its order so that they can approach Supreme Court, following which the HC issued a two-week stay on its order.
Petitioners Dayaram Verma, Ravjibhai Manani, Dulari Basarge and Gujarat Parents’ Association had separately challenged the ordinance announcing reservation of 10 per cent seats to candidates belonging to the unreserved category with family income cap of Rs 6 lakh annually in government jobs and educational institutions.
Their petitions were heard together. . had cited the Supreme Court order in the Indra Sawhney case which had challenged reservations granted to OBCs on the recommendations of the Mandal commission in the early 1990s.