Cornered govt has no option but listen to Jats

Cornered govt has no option but listen to Jats

Cornered govt has no option but listen to Jats

As the Jats’ agitation has turned violent, the government seems to have no other option than to take a fresh look at the demand for their inclusion in the list of Other Backward Classes (OBC) to give them reservation in job and educational institutions.

The “politically organised” community, largely land owning, has already been granted the benefit in Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

In the scenario, as the Jats stand excluded from special OBC category in Haryana after quashing of the decision by the Punjab and Haryana HC last year, the government has the option of passing a legislation or an ordinance.

The community suffered a setback when the apex court last year quashed the hasty move, without substantiated by the data, taken by the previous UPA regime and later supported by the NDA to include them in the central list of the OBCs.

Though the government promised a corrective measure, it could not do anything to mollify the community, forcing them to resort to agitation.

In its judgment quashing the decision of March 4, 2014 to include Jats into OBC list, the Supreme Court noted that the move was made with an eye on election.

The court had then noted the National Commission for Backward Classes — set up in 1993 after the apex court verdict in Indira Sawhney (Mandal case) — had rejected the idea after examining the issue and going through a report of an expert committee of Indian Council of Social Science Research.

The government claimed that the NCBC had not adequately taken into account ground realities. Relying upon its statistics, the government also maintained that the NCBC’s recommendation was not binding.

However, the court rejected the argument, saying outdated statistics cannot provide accurate parameters for measuring backwardness for the purpose of inclusion in the OBC list.

Articles 16(4) and 15(4) of the Constitution lay the foundation for affirmative action by the state to reach out to “the most deserving” only and the caste could not be the sole identification of a group as backward, the SC has said.