UPA-II decision of March 2014 seen politically motivated
GN Bureau | March 17, 2015
The supreme court on Tuesday cancelled the previous government’s decision to grant reservations to the Jat community under the other backward classes (OBC) category.
The apex court refused to consider the Jat community as backward and said that caste, though a prominent factor, cannot be the sole factor to determine the backwardness of a person.
“Possible wrong inclusion of a caste in the OBC list may not be the basis of further inclusion… Inclusion of a politically organized community may not be good for other backward classes,” said the bench led by justice Ranjan Gogoi. The court was hearing a batch of petitions some of which were in favour and while some were against the decision.
It may be noted that the UPA government announced reservations to the Jat community under the OBC category in nine states ahead of the general elections in 2014. The government notification included the community in the OBC list in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan (districts of Bharatpur and Dhaulpur), Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and extended reservation benefits to Jats in job and education.
This decision was challenged by several petitioners who contended that Jats were politically and socially advanced and the decision would further deteriorate the prospects of the deprived groups which actually deserve such benefits.
The move by UPA-II was seen as politically and electorally motivated and it was being speculated that the government wanted to improve its electoral performances in those nine states.
The Narendra Modi government also endorsed this move, terming it in public interest.
In 1997, the national commission for the backward classes (NCBC) rejected the request for inclusion of Jats in the central list of OBCs in nine states. Before the UPA decision, the Jat community was included in the central list of OBCs for the states of Gujarat (Jat Muslims) and Rajasthan (except in Bharatpur and Dhaulpur districts).
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