Stay on enhanced OBC quota in MP to continue: HC

Hearing as many as 23 petitions challenging the Madhya Pradesh government’s decision to raise the reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) from 14% to 27% in government jobs and educational institutions, Madhya Pradesh high court’s principal bench in Jabalpur has ordered continuation of its interim order of January 31, 2020.

The division bench of justice Sanjay Yadav and BK Shrivastava ordered continuation of the interim order, said additional advocate general RKVerma. The next date of hearing is September 23.

The high court order of January had stated, “…It shall be open for the Public Service Commission to go ahead with the selection process. However the same shall not be finalized and no appointments shall be made without prior permission of the high court.”

Aditya Sanghi, the counsel for one of the petitioners, said, “As per the interim order, the state government can go ahead with the process but it can’t appoint anyone in government on the basis of enhanced reservation.”

He said, “The government has made a plea that there is 51% OBC population in the state. However, if the government’s plea is taken into account, OBCs, STs and SCs in the state account for about 87% of the total population. Then, the government can justify its reservation up to 87% but will this be justice to people from other segments of society?”

The petitions were filed in the high court over a year ago when then Congress government, headed by Kamal Nath, decided to enhance the reservation percentage for OBCs in March 2019.

The petitioners have made plea in the court that as per the Supreme Court’s judgment in Indira Sawhney vs Union of India, reservation in government jobs and educational institutions can’t exceed 50% of the seats.

Earlier, hearing the petitions, the high court had said last year, “…it is directed that the respondents shall not provide reservation of more than 14% for OBC category in admission made to the colleges on the strength of the ordinance which is subject matter of this petition.”

Till the then Kamal Nath government decided on 10% reservation for the economically weaker section (EWS) in upper castes and enhanced OBC reservation, the state had 20% reservation for scheduled tribes, 16% for scheduled castes and 14% for OBCs. After the announcement, the figure touched 73%.

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