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Yogi govt’s caste certificate order ‘unconstitutional’, says Centre

Union Minister Tawar Chand Gehlot said the state government's move to include 17 OBC castes in the SC list is "not appropriate" and "unconstitutional".

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 2, 2019 5:16:26 pm
UP government, caste certificates, sc, obc, sc list debate, up caste certificates, mayawati, yogi adityanath, uttar pradesh, caste politics, indian express Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (File Photo)

The Centre Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to stop issuing Scheduled Caste certificates to 17 OBC castes. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Tawar Chand Gehlot, speaking in Rajya Sabha, said the state government’s move is “not appropriate” and “unconstitutional”.

Making a short statement in the Upper House of the Parliament, Gehlot said including OBC castes in the SC list is in the domain of Parliament and asked the state government to follow proper procedures.

Citing a 2017 observation of the Allahabad High Court, the BJP government in UP had directed officials to issue SC certificates to 17 OBC castes “after examination and based on documents in accordance with the rules”.


SP had pushed it, BSP with a rider

The BJP government in UP is not the first to move on the 17 most backward castes in the OBC list. In 2005, it was the SP government of Mulayam Singh Yadav which passed the first order to win over 11 of these castes who felt left out of the quota benefits. The order was stayed and the proposal sent to the Centre. Subsequently, the BSP government of Mayawati quashed the notification. She later said these castes could be included in the SC list provided the SC quota is increased. The SP government of Akhilesh Yadav cleared the inclusion proposal ahead of the 2017 assembly elections but it was challenged and is in court.

The June 24 direction to include 17 OBC castes — Kashyap, Rajbhar, Dhivar, Bind, Kumhar, Kahar, Kewat, Nishad, Bhar, Mallah, Prajapati, Dhimar, Batham, Turha, Godia, Manjhi and Machua — among the Schedule Castes, drew an angry response from BSP chief Mayawati who called it “unconstitutional”, saying these castes will neither get benefits meant for OBCs nor SCs since a state government has no power to make any alteration to the SC list.

Explained | The line between OBC and SC

State officials said the government wanted the 17 castes in the SC list because these castes figure very low on social and economic indices. The officials maintained that the advantage of placing them in the SC list will entitle them to quota and other benefits announced by the government from time to time. But SC groups fear that such a move might impact their quota as the new entrants will consume their share if the reservation limit is not expanded.

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