A day after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill for 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections in the general category, the Gujarat government announced that it would implement the provisions in education and government jobs from January 14.
In an official release quoting Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, the state government said: “From Makar Sankranti — January 14, 2019 — the economically weaker sections of non-reserved candidates will start getting benefit of 10 per cent reservation in higher education admissions and government jobs…”
Declaring that Gujarat was the “first” to implement the “historic” and “revolutionary” legislation, the release said the new quota will be in addition to existing provisions available to SC, ST and SEBC (Socially & Educationally Backward Classes).
Rupani later posted on Twitter: “Happy to state that the Government of Gujarat has decided to implement 10% EWS reservation benefits from 14th January, 2019. It will be implemented in all ongoing recruitment process too wherein there is only advertisement published but first stage of examination is yet to held.”
Following the announcement, the Opposition Congress accused the government of rushing through the decision and also questioned whether the law first needs to be ratified by the state legislature. However, a senior government official said the “new Act does not require ratification by the state assembly under the provisions of Article 368 of the Constitution”.
According to the government, the new quota will be implemented in admissions and jobs that were advertised before January 14, but for which the actual process has not started.
However, if the recruitment or admission process — tests or interviews — has started before January 14, the 10 per cent quota would not apply, the release stated. “In case the procedure for recruitment has not begun and only an advertisement has been issued, the new advertisement will have to be issued for the recruitment,” the release further said.
In 2016, following the Patidar quota agitation, the Gujarat government had promulgated an ordinance providing 10 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for economically weaker sections in the general category.
However, the ordinance was quashed by the Gujarat High Court — the government’s appeal is pending before the Supreme Court. “With the passing of the new law, the petition of the state government before the Supreme Court is redundant and not required,” said the official.
Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda described the government’s decision as “a political announcement”. “The central government generally informs state governments about the new Act and its rules and then it gets implemented. Here, the Chief Minister has simply made an announcement through a tweet and a press release. We do not know the modalities of the Act’s implementation, how will it be implemented and what will be the rules,” said Chavda.
Following the state announcement, the Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) postponed all its exams scheduled to be held on January 20.