Monday, 30th October 2017

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Centre and Yogi at odds on list

‘Unconstitutional’ tag on removal of 17 castes

  • Published 3.07.19, 6:51 AM
  • Updated 3.07.19, 6:51 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Yogi Adityanath A file picture

The Centre on Tuesday said the BJP-run Uttar Pradesh government had taken an “unconstitutional” decision to remove 17 castes from the list of Other Backward Classes and label them Scheduled Castes, and told the state administration to desist from giving SC certificates to people from these groups.

Minister for social justice and empowerment Thawaar Chand Gehlot disapproved of the Yogi Adityanath government’s directive to district officials to award SC certificates to people from these 17 groups.

On Monday, BSP chief Mayawati had alleged that the state government was depriving people of these 17 castes of their right to reservation.

On Tuesday, BSP parliamentarian Satish Chandra Mishra raised the issue during zero hour in the Rajya Sabha and urged the Centre to stop the state from going ahead with the decision.

Gehlot replied that what the state government had done was “not correct under any circumstance”.

A state government is not authorised to change the class of a caste. According to the Constitution, such a decision can be taken only in Parliament. The SC and ST lists are issued by the President. Any addition can be done only through a constitutional amendment bill in Parliament. The state government has to send to the Centre the names of the castes it wants included in the lists.

“This is not correct under any circumstance. It is the jurisdiction of Parliament. Such demands have come in the past too. But they could not be included for lack of consensus. If the Uttar Pradesh government wants to include these OBC groups in the SC list, it has to send a proposal under the established procedure. Then it will be considered. But their present decision is unconstitutional,” Gehlot said.

“I appeal to them not to award caste certificates on the basis of this decision. Otherwise, the matter will go to court and nobody will benefit,” the minister added.

The BSP’s Mishra had alleged that the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision would marginalise the OBCs, who would not be able to partake of the benefits of either the OBC quota or the SC quota.

“We are in favour of SC status for these 17 groups. These groups should be included through the constitutional process. The quota for the SCs should be increased,” Mishra said.

The 17 castes whose categorisation has been changed are Bhar, Rajbhar, Nishad, Bind, Manjhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Kahanr, Kashyap, Dhimar, Dhiwar, Prajapati, Kewat, Turaha, Botham, Gauria and Machchua.

All of them had sought the change in category, apparently because they were falling behind fellow OBCs like the more socially better off Yadavs and Kurmis in the competition for reservation benefits.