The Bihar government challenged the Centre on Thursday to either place the state’s reservation laws in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution or be deemed as opposed to the recent hike in the job quota for the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Castes (OBC) and Extremely Backward Castes (EBC) from 50 per cent to 65 per cent.
The laws placed in the Ninth Schedule cannot be challenged in the courts. Placing the Bihar quota laws, including the recent amendment act, in the Ninth Schedule will shield them from judicial review and cut the chances of courts suspending them from implementation.
The Nitish Kumar government also demanded that the Centre either provide special category status to Bihar or implement the provision of 90:10 sharing of funds by the Union government and the state in centrally sponsored schemes.
“The Centre should immediately put the reservation laws pertaining to the hike in quota in jobs in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution. We are waiting and this should be done quickly so that the move to increase reservation does not face hurdles and legal cases like the caste-based survey did,” deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said.
Tejashwi pointed out that the state cabinet had already recommended this move on Wednesday and it was time for the BJP to show that it “is actually in favour of the quota hike to provide social and economic justice to the people left behind”.
Interacting with media persons, the deputy chief minister and five other state ministers stressed the importance of both the moves for the progress of the state.
They pointed out that according to the caste-based survey held recently, over 94 lakh families, or 34.1 per cent of Bihar’s 13.07 crore population, were poor with an income that was less than Rs 6,000 per month, and it was the need of the hour to take steps to uplift them by providing employment, residential land and help to construct houses among other things.
“Welfare measures for them would require Rs 2.5 lakh crore over a period of five years. We can achieve the target in two to two-and-a-half years if the state gets special category status,” Tejashwi added.