27% quota for OBCs gets Madhya Pradesh house nod

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the bill providing 27% reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in education and state government jobs. File photo

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the bill providing 27% reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in education and state government jobs.

Hitherto, the quota for the OBCs is 14%, for SCs 20% and the STs 16%, making it up to 50% which is the maximum reservation allowed by the Supreme Court.

If the bill becomes a law, quota will go up to 63% in the state. If the Modi government’s 10% quota for EBCs also gets the state government’s nod, the total reservation will rise to 73%.

The Kamal Nath government had issued an ordinance in March this year, raising quota limit to 27% but the Madhya Pradesh High Court stayed the ordinance on the grounds that it violated the Supreme Court cap on reservation.

In June, the state Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Kamal Nath cleared the bill for raising reservation limit for OBCs in jobs and educational facilities.

Just ahead of the 2003 Assembly polls, the then Digvijaya Singh-led Congress government had also made a similar announcement regarding quota to OBCs, but the party lost the polls and the decision could not be implemented.

In 1992, a nine-judge Supreme Court bench had ordered in the Indra Sawhney case that caste-based reservations cannot go above 50%.

However, Chief Minister Kamal Nath says that the apex court’s ruling will pose no hurdle in implementation of the 27% quota for OBCs.

“There are many states where caste-based reservations are higher than 50% and we see no problem in the implementation of OBC quota in MP,” he said.

Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have caste-based reservations that exceed 50% but these announcements and implementation took place before the landmark judgement in the Indra Sawhney case in 1992.

Post the Supreme Court ruling, Rajasthan and Maharashtra announced caste-based reservation above the 50% ceiling but it was struck down by courts.

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