Gujarat court quashes quota for EBCs, calls it unconstitutional

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on January 17, 2018

Patel community taking a procession in Gandhinagar demanding quota in Gujarat Government. File Photo   -  The Hindu

The Anandiben administration had brought in the ordinance to pacify agitating Patidars

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday set aside the State government’s ordinance granting 10 per cent reservation in education and employment for Economically Backward Classes (EBCs).

The court said the provision of quota for non-reserved EBCs, over and above the existing 49 per cent quota for reserved categories, would take the reservation percentage to well over the Supreme Court-mandated limit of 50.

While delivering its order on multiple Public Interest Litigation (PILs), a Division Bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice VM Pancholi termed the ordinance “unconstitutional and illegal”.

The High Court also observed that the government’s decision was not based on scientific data or any survey analysis.

Bowing to pressure from Patidars agitating for reservation, , former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had announced a the 10 per cent EBC quota in May this year. As per the ordinance, families with an annual income up to ₹6 lakh from non-reserved communities like Patidars, Brahmins and Baniyas would be eligible for quota.

State Minister Nitin Patel termed the decision unfortunate and expressed the government’s resolve to challenge the High Court order in the Supreme Court. “The 10 per cent EBC quota was specifically to provide an equal opportunity to all the communities in the State in obtaining government education and employment. An Act was brought after consulting constitution experts and referring to the past decisions by the High Courts in Rajasthan and Haryana. It is unfortunate that this Act, which doesn’t affect the existing structure of reservation is rejected. We completely stand by our decision and will immediately appeal in the Supreme Court,” said Patel.

Notably, terming the quota an eyewash, Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela had demanded raising the quantum of reservation rom 10 to 20 per cent and increasing the income ceiling from ₹6 lakh to ₹12 lakh.

Published on August 04, 2016

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