The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre as well as the state government on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by a BJP corporator, seeking cancellation of a 1994 official resolution that had included 39 castes in the list of Other Backward Castes (OBCs).
The petition, moved by BJP corporator Ajmal Thakor from Visnagar Nagarpalika in Mehsana district, also sought a fresh survey to identify other backward communities and creation of a new list based on the survey.
Identifying himself as president of a Thakor community outfit in Visnagar, he claimed that “inclusions and exclusions in the reservations list can be done only with the help of quantifiable data. However, such figures are not available for the last 50 years or so, since the census reports provided the results of such caste-wise figures only until 1931.”
Therefore, the petition mentioned that members of a particular caste, in order to demand inclusion of their caste in the other backward castes (OBC) category, have now indulged in long agitations. He cited the reservation agitation by Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS).
The division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi following the hearing issued notices to the central and state governments, and also national and state OBC commissions.
Thakor contended that inclusion of 39 castes in the OBC list was not based on any survey, review or recommendation of the OBC panel and it was done in the violation of the the Supreme Court’s 1993 landmark order in the case of Indra Sahwney.
In the Indra Sahwney case, the apex court had held that there should be a review of such a list in every 10 years and had directed that no new caste be included in the list without recommendation or review of the OBC commission.
The petitioner claimed that 1994 government resolution for the inclusion of 39 castes were based on recommendations by the Parikshit Majmudar Commission of 1953 in the old state of Saurashtra, now part of Gujarat.
The petitioner also requested the court to direct the state government to stop making new appointments, holding the interview for any post and also issuing advertisements for recruitment, till this matter is disposed.
Some of the castes included as OBCs in 1994 were the Ghantiyas,the Chaudharys (those who are not tribal), the Depadas, the Hatis and the Khasiyas.