The Rajasthan High Court has stayed the operation of a new law providing for 19 per cent reservation to Gujjars and the newly-created economically backward class in the State on the ground of the total quota exceeding the limit of 50 per cent fixed under the “settled legal provisions.”
A Division Bench passed the interim order on Monday while issuing show-cause notice to the State Chief Secretary on a letter-petition filed by G. Sharma and others claiming to be students of Rajasthan University.
The legislation had created a special backward class comprising Gujjars and other nomadic tribes and provided 5 per cent reservation to them in government jobs and admission to educational institutions. It also created an economically backward class and made a quota provision of 14 per cent for it, raising the total reservation in the State to 68 per cent.
The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice M.N. Bhandari, said it had examined the petition in the light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Indira Sawhney case of 1992. “It is prima facie clear that the reservation is in excess of the normal limit of 50 per cent laid down in that case.”
“The reservation granted by the government to the Gujjar community and the EBC exceeding the normal limit of 50 per cent is not in consonance with the settled legal provisions,” observed the court, while directing a copy of the order to be supplied to the Advocate-General for facilitating the State government’s reply to the notice.
While granting the interim stay, the Bench observed: “The respondents are restrained from providing vertical reservation beyond 50 per cent on the posts/seats for appointments/admissions in the State of Rajasthan.”
The Bill for providing special reservation to Gujjars — who launched a violent agitation for the Scheduled Tribe status for more than a year — and creating the new EBC was unanimously passed in the Assembly during the previous BJP regime last year. However, the Bill did not receive the Governor’s assent for a prolonged duration.
The new Congress-led government in the State entered into an agreement with Gujjar supremo Kirori Singh Bainsla following his renewed agitation in May this year.