The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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HC notices on quota for Jats

Jaipur, Sept. 16: Rajasthan High Court today issued notices to the Centre and state governments on a public interest litigation challenging the inclusion of Jats in the Other Backward Classes category, reports our special correspondent.

A division bench of Justices S.K. Keshote and Shashikant, also issued notices to the National Commission for Backward Classes and the Rajasthan State Backward Classes Commission.

The notices were issued after Satya Narayan Singh, a former secretary of the Rajasthan Commission, moved a petition saying the inclusion of the Jats on the OBC list had deprived the genuinely backward classes of the benefits of reservation.

Singh is patron of the Samajik Nyaya Manch, the social-turned-political organisation that is spearheading the campaign for a quota for the upper-caste poor.

The petition said the Jats had been categorised as a forward caste by the Mandal Commission, but National Commission for Backward Classes had included them among OBCs. It did so without conducting a survey or waiting for the Rajasthan Commission to submit its report. The National Commission relied solely on the 1931 census in some areas, Singh alleged.

“The Jats were quite a forward community and are adequately represented in public services. They have been included among OBCs without considering their present socio-educational conditions,” he added.

The petitioner said the criteria adopted for identification had resulted in concentration of reservation benefits among the forward and advanced OBCs, thus snatching away the benefits from the really needy.

Singh said official records show that Jats have cornered most vacancies in government jobs. He substantiated his charge by showing how many Jats were in government service.

“That the Jats are politically, socially and economically were strong even without reservation is indicated by the fact that there are 10 MPs and 34 MLAs belonging to this community,” the petition says.

“The Rajasthan Commission survey indicated that Jats could not in any case be categorised as a backward class,” Singh added. Yet, the community had been included among OBCs due to “parochial” political considerations, the petition says.

Singh said the Supreme Court had observed during the Indira Sawhney case that state commissions’ recommendations on which castes should get reservation benefits must be given utmost importance. The apex court had ruled, in what came to be known as the Mandal case, that the benefits of reservation should percolate to those who need it the most.

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