The Rajasthan High Court Monday quashed a state government order issued in 1999 granting reservation to Jats in Dholpur and Bharatpur districts and ordered a review of the status of all communities under Other Backward Classes to be conducted over the next four months.
A bench of Chief Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice Ajit Kumar Singh issued the order on a bunch of petitions filed from 1999 to 2003 challenging the reservation.
Vijay Poonia, who represented the Jat Mahasabha defending the reservation, told The Indian Express: “The grounds on which the reservation for Jats in Bharatpur and Dholpur were quashed have to be examined. Only the operative parts of the 100-page order were read out on Monday and we are yet to know whether the court has considered procedural irregularities or wrong inclusion as a ground for denying reservation in the two districts. However, it has upheld the reservation of Jats elsewhere in the state.”
The state OBC Commission that was constituted two weeks back will now review the status of Jats as well as the other communities included in the OBC category in the state, a procedure that has been long pending.
The petitioners include Satyanarayan Saini, who has served as the first member secretary of the state commission.
They had presented before the court a study conducted by Vikas Adhyayan Sansthan that states that Jats are a ‘socially, educationally and economically forward community’ and ‘have more than their fair share of representation, politically and in government jobs.’
The report maintained that granting OBC reservation to the community is unjustified as it is also ‘a land owning community’.
The decision comes as a huge blow to Jats in Bharatpur and Dholpur, who had so far enjoyed reservation in the state. Of the 21 percent for OBCs, Jats take away a lion’s share despite sharing it with approximately 90 other communities.
The dominant Jat community, on its part, has threatened the state government led by Raje as well as the previous Gehlot government of dire consequences if their OBC quota is touched. Over the years, the community on an average produces 30 MLAs while the Gujjars have roughly not more than eight representatives in the state assembly, which goes to show the dominance of the former. The Gujjars, on the other hand, have been emboldened since the Supreme Court’s decision to deny reservation to Jats in the central services.
While neither the Raje nor the Gehlot government has dared to initiate a restructuring of the OBC, they have only sought to pacify the Gujjars with a separate quota under SBC, which crossed the 50 percent limit.