Other States

HC notice to Haryana on plea challenging Backward Classes quota for municipal chiefs

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Haryana government on a petition challenging a rule of Haryana Municipal Election (Amendment) Rules 2020, providing for proportionate reservation for the post of president of municipal bodies.

“The Division Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha and Justice Arun Palli issued the notice of motion, asking the Haryana government to file its reply in the matter,” said Deepkaran Dalal, counsel for the petitioner

Mr. Dalal said his client Ram Krishan had moved the court challenging the Rule 70A of Haryana Municipal Election (Amendment) Rules 2020, which related to the scheme of reservation laid therein, urging for it to be quashed.

Rule 70-A inter alia provides for proportionate reservation of post of president of the municipal bodies for candidates belonging to the backward classes (BCs) on the basis of their total population in the State.

Mr. Dalal said Haryana did not have any data related to the population of the backward classes and in the absence of quantifiable, empirical data establishing the population, the scheme of reservation could not be implemented. “Further, the scheme of reservation has been framed without any determination of backwardness of these classes. Thus, the reservation is disproportionate, unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 and 243T of the Constitution,” he said.

Counsel added that the basis of determining the population of a State is the Census carried out by the Government of India where the population figures are collected in accordance with the schedules issued by the Census Authority and then published in accordance with the Census Act.

“The Haryana government, while coming out with the impugned scheme of reservation, has ignored the fact that as per the schedule of the last Census, i.e. Census 2011, population was only bifurcated into scheduled caste and general category and no data related to population of backward classes was collected. Alternatively, the State is required to collect empirical data in the form of survey etc. In the absence of any empirical data ascertaining the backwardness of backward classes in Haryana and their population, the determination of number of offices of president reserved for backward classes as envisaged in Rule 70A (i) of the Haryana Municipal Election (Amendment) Rules, 2020 is illegal, arbitrary, mala fide and liable to be set aside inter-alia being unconstitutional,” argued Mr. Dalal.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 5:38:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/hc-notice-to-haryana-on-plea-challenging-backward-classes-quota-for-municipal-chiefs/article36621868.ece

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