HC extends freeze on Haryana’s quota for Jats, others

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday extended till December 31 the freeze on the Haryana government’s notification on 10 per cent reservation for Jats and five other communities.

The court asked the government to compile data on various communities in Haryana and submit a report to the Haryana Backward Classes Commission by December 31.

The Haryana assembly had on March 29 last year unanimously passed a bill on reservations for persons belonging to the state’s backward classes, including politically dominant Jats.

On May 13, 2016, the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had notified the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act, 2016.

The High Court put on hold the implementation of the impugned notification on May 26 following a public interest litigation by Bhiwani resident Murari Lal Gupta.

The petitioner argued that the government’s decision was contrary to the basic structure of the Constitution. He cited a Supreme Court ruling last year that said the Jats could not be treated as a backward community.

The petitioner said when the Supreme Court had observed that the Jats could not be treated as backward, the assembly had no right to pass the said Act.

The Act provides for 10 per cent reservation in Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ and six per cent reservation in Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts for the Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Bishnois, Tyagis, and Mulla Jats or Muslim Jats.

It also provided for 10 per cent reservation of seats educational institutions to these communities.

The state government promised reservation after the Jat agitation to press the demand paralysed the state for nine days in February 2016. As many as 30 persons were killed and 320 others injured, and property worth hundreds of crores of rupees destroyed in the violence during the Jat agitation.

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