The Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday set aside a 2016 Haryana government decision that allowed granting preference in recruitments and admission in educational institutions on basis of income within the Backward Class category.
The division bench of Justices Mahesh Grover and Mahabir Singh Sindhu held that the sub-classification which grants preference to those with income up to three lakh rupees among the Backward Class is an arbitrary classification “that ensures reverse discrimination which closes the doors of equitable distribution amongst the backward classes”.
“The end result is that the state has given a benefit with one hand only to take it away with the other. There is absolutely no established co-relation between the socially backward and the economically deprived…,” the division bench said, adding that it cannot be assumed that those with above three lakh rupees income have “unshackled” the social backwardness.
The government in 2016 had issued a notification providing that the children of persons having a annual income of three lakh rupees will be given the first preference in services and admissions in the educational institutions. The left out quota was meant for kin of families who earn more than Rs three lakh up to Rs six lakh rupees.
The notification was challenged in June by 16 students, who were aspirants for the MBBS course, through advocate Prithvi Raj Yadav. The division bench has directed the authorities to conduct fresh counselling of the students for the admissions with no sub-classification among the Backward Classes.
The division bench further said that the government decision is not substantiated by any verifiable data to establish the social backwardness of the people who it intends to benefit with the sub-classification.
“The only justification offered is the recommendation of the Backward Classes Commission which if perused, does in no manner, reveal any material for its conclusion that income of majority of the members of backward classes not being more than 2.5 lakhs annually,” the judgement reads.