The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the Centre’s petition, asking it to reconsider its verdict that had scrapped the March 2014 notification to include Jats in the central list of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in nine states.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton F Nariman junked the review petition filed by the government against the March 17 verdict by the judges. The bench held there was no error apparent on the face of the record and the review plea was bereft of merit.
On Tuesday, the bench also rejected a separate plea by some Jat applicants, who cleared various stages of Probationary Officers recruitment exam under the reserved OBC category but were not given letters of appointment.
The government had in April filed a review petition, days after a delegation of Jat leaders had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After a scrutiny by the senior officials of the ministries of Home, Law, Social Justice and Empowerment and Personnel, a decision was taken to move the court for seeking a review of the verdict.
The review petition claimed that the court could not have sat over the decision by the government to grant OBC status to Jats since it was taken under a constitutional authority. The government cited its powers under Articles 15 (4) and 16 (4) to make special provisions, including reservation in appointments for certain disadvantaged classes, and contended that it could not be denuded of its authority by an interpretation of the court.
“The Centre had a duty to take affirmative action under Article 16(4) of the Constitution to include Jats in the central OBC list and extend them reservation in educational institutions and jobs,” stated the petition.
It had added that the test laid down by the Supreme Court in its previous judgments for determination of social, educational and economic backwardness of Jats had been fully met and it was only after that a decision was taken to include Jats in the list of OBC communities.
On March 17, the bench has quashed the notification, and ruled that “caste” and “historical injustice” cannot blind a state in according backward status to a community and that new emerging groups such as transgenders must be identified for quota benefits. It was a poll-eve decision by the UPA-II government in March 2014 to include Jats in the central list of OBC.