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Odisha to toe quota order

Bhubaneswar, June 24: The Naveen Patnaik government today made it clear that it would abide by the direction of the Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT) on the job reservation policy for socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC).

This means the quota of SEBC will be reduced from 27 per cent to 11.25 per cent. However, reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will remain at 16.25 per cent and 22.50 per cent, respectively.

“It is necessary to limit the percentage of reservation for SEBC at 11.25 till the final judgment of the high court has been delivered. The judgment of the Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT) restricting the job reservation is pending with the high court has been challenged,” an official spokesperson said.

The decision comes after a number of appointments made by the state government in the recent past have been challenged in different courts.

In 2008, the state government had enacted a legislation fixing the quota for socially and educationally backward classes in government jobs at 27 per cent. The Act came into force by way of a gazette notification in 2009.

The state’s law had provided reservation of 27 per cent to SEBC as a result the total quota of job reservation had gone upto 65.75 per cent. For SC/ST, the quota was fixed at 16.25 per cent and 22.5 per cent, respectively. This was despite the fact that the Supreme Court has fixed 50 per cent limit for the total job reservation.

A few states, including Tamil Nadu, have more than 50 per cent job reservation because the laws passed by those states are part of the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution (making it non justiceable). Any law to be part of the ninth schedule has to be passed by Parliament.

As the Odisha government’s Act is not part of the ninth schedule, its job reservation policy has been questioned time and again.