The Rajasthan High Court on Friday struck down five per cent reservation for Gujjars and four other castes under the Special Backwards Classes (SBC) category, underlining that reservation should not be provided “to achieve political goals”.
“Five castes (Gujjars, Banjaras, Gadarias, Raikas and Gadia Lohars), earlier falling in the category of OBCs and getting benefit of reservation, have been brought in the category of SBCs to provide five per cent reservation exceeding the ceiling of 50 per cent,” the court said. “…it is not that the Gujjars/Gurjars and others were having no representation either for admission in the educational institutions or in services.’’
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The court noted that data for establishing the backwardness of the five communities had not been collected to the extent required. “In those circumstances, recommendation of the SBC Commission (for reservation) can be said to be perverse,” the court said. “The SBC Commission and the state government have failed to discharge their obligation as per the directions of the apex court to collect quantifiable data.’’
The court pointed out several flaws in the SBC reservation while saying that the ceiling of 50 per cent can be exceeded in exceptional cases. It added that reservation “should not be made solely based on caste’’. The court observed that reservation to achieve political goals results in caste-based agitations. “It was recently seen in the state of Haryana where agitators disrupted normal life of the citizen.’’
The law granting the reservation was passed last year taking the reservation in the state to 54 per cent.
Rajasthan Gujjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti leader Himmat Singh Gujjar said community will agitate again. “We will agitate the same way as before,” he said. “There is BJP government at the Centre and in the state and we kept telling them to see to it that that the (reservation) Act is included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution (to make it immune to judicial scrutiny),’’ he said.