M.P. raising quota for OBCs to 27%: reply to plea, HC tells govt

Petitioner contends the increase breaches the 50% limit for cumulative reservation

September 18, 2019 04:29 pm | Updated 04:29 pm IST - Bhopal

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has sought a reply from the State government within two weeks to a petition challenging the latter’s decision to raise reservation for OBCs to 27%.

The petition was filed by four persons who had appeared for the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission Examination for various posts under the general category.

The petitioners contended that after the amendment to the Madhya Pradesh Lok Sewa Adhiniyam, 1994, on July 17, 2019, the reservation for the Other Backward Classes was raised from 14% to 27%, which crossed the 50% limit as laid down by the Supreme Court.

“The total reservation has now crossed the 50% mark and is against the dictum laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Indra Sawhney versus the Union of India,” said the petition.

The reservation was against Articles 14 [Equality before law], 15 [prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth], 16 [equality of opportunity] and 19 (1) (g) [right to practice any profession] of the Constitution, the petitioners contended.

The plea said that the 26-year-old judgement had not been overruled to this day and was followed in letter and spirit across the country.

Aditya Sanghi, counsel for the petitioners, told The Hindu , “The decision is just a political gimmick by the ruling party to garner votes. Even they are aware such a move goes against the spirit of the Constitution. But they could now at least inform the electorate that they tried all their means to increase the quota.”

On March 8, 2019, the government passed an ordinance to increase the quota, taking the cumulative quota in government jobs and educational institutions to 63% - 16% for the Scheduled Castes, 20% for Scheduled Tribes and 27% for the OBCs. Later, the government extended a 10% reservation to the economically weaker sections.

On March 19, the court stayed the application of the ordinance to government colleges across the State, after a petition challenging it was filed by three medical graduates.

Having cleared the NEET (PG) examination this year under the general category, the petitioners argued that with the raised quota, they were at a disadvantage during counselling sessions for college admissions.

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