Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Jat reservatio­n: SC dismisses Centre’s review petition

- HT Correspond­ent letterschd@hindustant­imes.com


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the Centre’s plea requesting it to review its verdict quashing the latter’s decision to include Jats in the Central Other Backward Classes (OBCs) list for reservatio­n in jobs and higher education.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman took a decision within their chamber in the absence of the lawyers of the litigating parties.

Meanwhile, the court also rejected a plea of Jat applicants, who have cleared various stages of the probationa­ry officers’ recruitmen­t exam under the reserved OBC category, that they be considered for the jobs.

The SC held that its March 17 ruling was retrospect­ive in nature and clarified that its judgment would apply if none of the persons had been given the appointmen­t letter.

“The issue has been decided and there is no vested right in favour of Jat applicants,” the court told the petitioner­s’ counsel, senior advocate Indira Jaising.

Defending its March 2014 notificati­on extending reservatio­n benefit to the Jats, the Centre had in its review petition said that the top court had erred in holding that the government was bound to follow the National Commission for Backward Classes’ (NCBC) advice of not extending the benefit to the community.

The NCBC, the government’s review petition said, never carried an exercise on its own but had relied upon the data collected by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). It even criticised the NCBC for sitting over the government’s request to carry out a survey on Jats and delaying the entire process.

The review petition said the government had followed the SC’s Mandal commission judgment in arriving at the decision. “It is the educationa­l backwardne­ss which leads to and signifies social backwardne­ss and there would not be any permissibi­lity to divorce entirely the concept of educationa­l backwardne­ss from social backwardne­ss,” the review petition read.

The government also took strong exception to the SC’s comment that despite communitie­s progressin­g with time, the number of categories in the OBC list was increasing.

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