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50% interim ceiling on quotas

Ranchi, Aug. 22: Jharkhand High Court today passed an interim order directing the state government to make a maximum of only 50 per cent reservation in government jobs till the Supreme Court delivers a judgment on the reservation issue.

According to the reservation policy announced by the Babulal Marandi government last year, the Scheduled Tribes had a quota of 32 per cent, the Scheduled Castes 14 per cent and the Other Backward Classes 27 per cent. This was the highest quantum of job quota in the country.

The court ordered that the respective quotas for the three categories should be proportionately reduced. This means that the Scheduled Tribes will now have a quota of 22 per cent, the Scheduled Castes 9.5 per cent and the Other Backward Classes 18.5 per cent.

The five-member constitutional bench turned down the Jharkhand government’s request for keeping its order pending till the apex court decided on the Tamil Nadu Act reserving 69 per cent.

A petition against the Tamil Nadu government’s order to reserve 69 per cent of government jobs is pending before the apex court since 1993. There is no separate petition challenging the Jharkhand reservation policy.

The specially constituted bench for hearing the state’s “domicile and reservation policies” passed the interim order while hearing writ petitions filed by Rajneesh Mishra and others. The petitioners have challenged the domicile policy and 73 per cent reservations.

The court directed that of the remaining 50 per cent, 27 per cent be earmarked for general category candidates and 23 per cent for appointment on the basis of merit, irrespective of any category or class, But such appointments would be conditional and subject to the final order on the petition that would be based on the apex court’s judgment.

Earlier, the state government’s lawyers, led by senior Supreme Court advocate P.P. Rao and advocate-general A.K. Sinha, submitted an affidavit requesting that the case may be kept pending till the judgment of Supreme Court is passed on the Tamil Nadu reservation policy.

The government requested permission for making appointments to the extent of 50 per cent of vacancies from reserved categories on regular basis. The remaining 23 per cent of reserved vacancies may be permitted to be filled up on ad hoc basis from the list of selected candidates, the government said.

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