Its implementation may run into legal hurdles as Janhit society threatens to move court

Days before Jat organisations — under the banner of Sarvjat Khap Arakshan Samiti — were to launch an agitation by blocking roads leading to Delhi, to press the Haryana government for reservation in government jobs for Jats, the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government accepted in principle, a report of the Haryana Backward Classes Commission (HBCC) that recommends 10% reservation for Jats and four other communities in the State.

Though the sop may persuade a section of the organisations to cancel the scheduled agitation, the legal hurdles that the government is likely to encounter in implementing the move is already making the Samiti do a rethink.

The Haryana Cabinet on Tuesday accepted the HBCC report recommending reservation in government jobs for five castes -- Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Tyagis and Bishnois -- under the special backward class category.

Haryana already provides 27% reservation in jobs to backward classes and 20% to scheduled castes. The recommendation provides for another 10% exclusively for these castes which will take the total reservation to 57%. The HBCC has recommended an additional 10% reservation for economically backward categories — below poverty line families of general category and other economically weaker sections, which will mean a total of 67% reservation.

The Supreme Court in 1992 put a cap of 50% on reservation in government jobs and Tamil Nadu is the only State which tried to get around this limit by enacting a separate law in 1994 to facilitate 69% reservation for its people. The Tamil Nadu law is, however, currently under challenge in the Supreme Court.

‘Bid to fool people’

Haryana’s main Opposition party, the Indian National Lok Dal, has described the Cabinet’s decision as an attempt to fool the people. “When the Hooda government knows well that reservation beyond 50% cannot be done without a constitutional amendment, it is merely playing politics by giving these communities false hopes,” said Ajay Singh Chautala, INLD secretary general, in a statement issued here.

For the last two years or so, the Jats have been agitating for reservation, which led the Hooda government to constitute the HBCC under the chairmanship of Justice K.K. Gupta (retd.) in April 2011. On Tuesday, the Cabinet also decided to forward the recommendations to the central list so that these castes can also get the benefit of jobs in the Centre.

‘State not serious’

The Sarvjat khap Samiti, which is an umbrella organisation of Jat Khaps of Haryana, has meanwhile rejected the government’s decision. Spokesperson Sube Singh told The Hindu , “The government is not serious about its intention and is only trying to divert our attention. We had demanded reservation in the existing 27% quota for backward classes, as that would have been legally tenable.”

But doing that is not easy, because the castes in this category had already opposed any dilution of their quota by including the Jats in their share. Jats comprise 22% of the population, and are the dominant landed community in the State.

The move to provide reservation for Jats is also likely to displease the non-Jat castes, who are already unhappy at the perceived pro-Jat stance of the Hooda government. It is making other communities nervous.

Last week a Karnal-based NGO, Janhit Social Welfare Society, produced data procured through RTI to show that Jats already hold the major share of government jobs in the State. Data of the total police force from the districts of Rohtak, Faridabad and Mahindergarh showed that Jats hold 61, 34 and 29 per cent of the jobs respectively in these districts.

The society’s president, Jitender Rana, told The Hindu that the organisation would move the Supreme Court against reservation for Jats.

  • Non-Jat castes unhappy with Hooda’s ‘pro-Jat’ stance

  • RTI data shows Jats hold the major share of government jobs in the State

  • More In: Today's Paper