The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the reservation for Jats and five other communities provided by the Haryana government. Under a newly-carved Backward Classes (C) category, the government of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had announced 10 per cent reservation for Jats and five other communities.
The HC passed the order while hearing a petition challenging the constitutional validity of The Haryana Backward Classes (reservation in services and admission in educational institutions) Act 2016 that was passed unanimously by the state Assembly on March 29.
The stay doesn’t come as a surprise. To extend the benefit, the government had relied on a report trashed by the Supreme Court and that was argument made by the petitioner as well.
The state assembly on March 29 unanimously passed the Haryana backward classes (reservation in services and admissions in educational institutions) act, 2016, carving a new backward classes category to extend quota benefits to Jats, Jat Sikhs, Mulla Jats, Bishnois, Rors and Tyagis.
It came weeks after Jat community’s agitation for job and education benefits turned violent, causing loss of life and extensive damage to property.
The counsel for the petitioner stated that providing reservation on the basis of the Gupta commission report tantamounts to the revision of a judicial order, which the legislature cannot do. According to the counsel, only the judiciary can revise the findings on an issue already decided in a judicial order.
The Act was challenged by Murari Lal Gupta of Bhiwani, who was seeking direction to quash block ‘C’ of the act, which provides reservation to the Jat community under a newly carved Backward Classes (C) category. The petitioner submitted that reservation for the Jat community has been provided under the new act on the basis of the Justice KC Gupta commission report, which the Supreme Court has already quashed.
The Bill was passed on March 29, days before the April 3 deadline set by the Jats, who had threatened a violent agitation if their demand for reservation was not met.
The Bill included six castes – Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Bishnois, Tyagis and Muslim Jats – in the list of Backward Classes by bifurcating it and creating an additional Block (C). There are 77 castes that were already covered under Backward Classes Block (A) and (B).