Stating that reservation should not be provided to achieve political goals, Rajasthan High Court struck down 5% reservation for Gujjars and four other castes on Friday. Gujjars had been seeking the quota for reservation in educational institutions and jobs. Upset over the decision, they are now likely to start a fresh agitation.
The division bench of the Court passed the order on petitions challenging an October 2015 government notification that gave 5% reservation to the special backward classes (SBCs), including Gujjars.
The Court cited several reasons for its decision. It said that not only had the government not been able to provide enough data to establish the backwardness of the community, but also the fact that the current reservation ceiling could only be exceeded in exceptional cases.
Only 50% reservation is allowed, and the law granting the reservation had pushed the quota to 54%. Saying that reservation should not be based only on caste, it added that the move usually leads to caste-based agitations.
The growing demand for quotas highlights the challenge faced by the government in creating adequate opportunities in education and employment for the country’s rising youth population.
Gujjars constitute 7% per cent of Haryana’s population, but have been demanding reservation in education and jobs. The community had launched an agitation in 2007 that had turned violent resulting in much loss of life.
More than 70 people have died in the decade-long stir with the police and those opposing the clashes, since then. The order, is likely to begin, a fresh round of agitation, as Gujjar leaders meet today to discuss a plan of action.
Gujjar leader, ex-Army Col Kirori Singh Bainsla said the community would “fight” with the state government once again. “Justice has not been done to us. Our quota has been struck down because the state government did not fulfil its promise to get the provision protected under Schedule IX of the Constitution,” Bainsla said.