Jaipur, Sept. 22: Rajasthan today cleared reservations for the Gujjars and economically weaker sections of upper castes, but doubts arose over their validity as the quotas overshoot the Supreme Court's 50 per cent cap.
The Assembly's nod to the bills come five months after the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government promised the Gujjars such a legislation following a revival of their quota agitation dating back to 2007. The move also coincided with the Patels' quota protests in party-ruled neighbouring Gujarat.
The bills provide 5 per cent quotas in jobs and education to the Gujjars and some other groups under a new category of "special backward classes", besides 14 per cent for the economically weaker sections of upper castes - families with annual incomes up to Rs 2.50 lakh. With these, the reservations will go up to 68 per cent. The government said today it would try to include the laws under Schedule IX of the Constitution, a section outside the purview of court review.
But the Supreme Court had in 2007 ruled out blanket immunity from review of laws under the schedule. "Inclusion in Schedule IX is a long-drawn process wherein Parliament takes the decision," former high court judge Panachand Jain.# Another worry is the influential Jats, already getting OBCs quotas, could turn restive fearing the Gujjars would be put in their group if the latest move hits a wall.