The Anandiben Patel government placed full-page advertisements in the Friday’s edition of several leading newspapers, putting forward legal and constitutional arguments that might scuttle any move to change the current reservation policy.
The advertisements, said top officials, were part of a plan to minimise “damage” that the government could suffer in view of the Patidar rally in Ahmedabad on August 25. The Patidar leaders have said they expect 25 lakh people in the rally.
Asserting that “at heart of this government is welfare of every Gujarati”, the advertisements maintained it was the duty of both the government and the citizens to follow constitutional provisions.
In five bullet points, it argued the Supreme Court’s 1992 verdict limits reservation provision only up to 50 per cent in any state. The advertisements noted in Gujarat, 27 per cent seats are reserved for OBCs, 15 per cent and 7 per cent for STs and SCs, respectively.
The government said the state had formed an OBC commission in 1994 under Article 340 of the Constitution, and 146 communities have been listed under the category.
Appealing for social harmony and brotherhood, it stated how courts have turned down similar demands by the Gujjars in Rajasthan, the Jats across India, the Muslims in Andhra Pradesh and the Marathas in Maharashtra.