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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Changing OBC seats into general ones will deprive reserved category: Centre tell Supreme Court

“Any intervention at this stage would deprive the person belonging to the OBC community for five long years, which by no stretch of logic can be said to be a short period…” the Centre said.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
December 27, 2021 5:31:15 pm
Supreme Court, Supreme Court on Hindus, Hindu minority, Supreme Court on Hindu minoritiesThe petitioner also submitted that Christians are considered a minority despite being the majority in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland (File)

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that staying of election to seats reserved for the Other Backward Class (OBC) category in the upcoming local body polls or notifying the OBC seats as general seats will deprive the reserved category for five years and be prejudicial to its interests.

“Any intervention at this stage would deprive the person belonging to the OBC community for five long years, which by no stretch of logic can be said to be a short period…” the Centre said.

The government added that the questions raised “are of great public importance and have a pan-India ramification…”

Stating that “the upliftment of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes has been the utmost priority of the Union Government,” the Centre in its application to the apex court said that “any inadequate representation of OBCs in local self-government defeats the very object, intent and purpose of the very idea of de-centralization of power and taking governance to the grass-root level”.

The government said that it be made a party in the matter “so that necessary assistance may be given to this Hon’ble Court on the larger issue of implementation of OBC reservation in all the local body elections in the country.”

The top court had on December 17 stayed elections to OBC category seats noting that the triple test laid down by it before provisioning such quota has not been fulfilled and directed that the elections proceed only after the said seats are renotified as general category ones.

The Supreme Court had earlier this month put on hold the elections to 27 per cent seats reserved for the OBC category in Maharashtra local body polls. On December 15, the Court asked the Maharashtra government and the State Election Commission (SEC) to renotify the 27 per cent seats as general category seats and hold elections to them.

The bench was hearing an application filed by Manmohan Nagar, the president of Bhopal District Panchayat, in connection with a petition filed by him before the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Nagar had approached the high court challenging the constitutional validity of the Madhya Pradesh ordinance –Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj and Gram Swaraj (Amendment) Adhiniyam – published on November 21, 2021. His plea contended that the ordinance was violative of Article 243-D which makes provision for reservation of seats for SCs, STs and women in the panchayats at all levels on a rotational basis. However, the ordinance had done away with the requirement of rotation by reserving seats – which had been reserved earlier for a category – again for the same category.

With the high court declining interim relief, Nagar approached the Supreme Court, which on December 15 noted that he had not challenged the December 4, 2021 State Election Commission notification on the polls and asked him to approach the High Court.

Following this, he again filed an application before the Supreme Court, urging it for ad interim stay on the election notification.

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