A day after the Gujarat government backtracked on a notification staying the ordinance providing 10 per cent quota to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), Deputy CM Nitin Patel Saturday said that the government not only needed more time to discuss the issue, but also wanted to see if any legal resolution could be found from the future decision by the Supreme Court on this matter.
He said that the process of admission and recruitment will go on as per the Supreme Court’s order. Patel, however, made it clear that after the Supreme Court’s order earlier this month, the EWS quota will not be applicable for the 60,000 vacancies that the state government is trying to fill up.
“The Supreme Court has stayed the EWS ordinance and so no new jobs can be filled up (under the 10 percent EWS quota)… The appeal of the state government on the EWS has not only been admitted by the SC, but considering its seriousness, the SC has referred the matter to a special five-judge bench. We expect that, just as the SC maintained that the admissions granted to around 3,000 students under the EWS quota will remain valid, similarly, if some other legal resolution as per SC’s decision can be found to provide equal opportunity to students from all categories, then we will try to achieve the same,” Patel said during a press conference held at the circuit house in Gandhinagar.
On Friday evening, the state government issued a notification, staying the Gujarat Unreserved Economically Weaker Sections (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Ordinance, 2016. However, just a few hours later, it issued another notification, cancelling the earlier notification. Clarifying about the goof-up in issuing the circulars, Patel said the circulars issued by the General Administration Depa-rtment and the Social Justice and Empowerment Department were only “meant for the implementation of the SC order”.
“In the evening, after the (first) circular, some suggestions came from EWS beneficiaries and some officials about certain misinterpretations cropping up about the EWS quota… I told Chief Minister Vijay Rupani about the clarifications that were needed and to ensure that there is no contempt to the SC order. We also want to ensure that process of filling up the vacancies happen smoothly and no injustice happens to EWS students and candidates. We wanted more time to make some clarifications and so the CM cancelled the earlier circular on (Friday) night itself,” Patel said, elaborating on the decision to withdraw the stay on the ordinance that is currently being examined by a five-member SC bench.
Asked if there was a miscommunication among government functionaries related to the EWS circulars, Patel said this was not the first time that circulars and government resolutions were suspended or amended. “The circulars were in the interest of the state, but certain clarifications on EWS students was needed and so it was cancelled… In a short time, we will try and find out a way for EWS students by thoroughly discussing this issue in consultation with the state’s advocate general and by keeping the SC’s order in mind. We will soon come up with a decision wherein we will ensure that no injustice happens to EWS students and they do not lose out on opportunities,” Patel said.
He said that the state government will also study legal and administrative options to see if EWS quota could be implemented in the various job vacancies that are currently in the process of being filled up. “This is being done keeping the SC order in mind,” Patel claimed. The ordinance providing 10 percent quota to EWS was promulgated in May to pacify the agitating Patidar community. However, the Gujarat HC scrapped it in August, after which the state government approached the SC.