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    Reservation Limit: Increasing demand for more than 50 percent reservation in jobs, know the legal side


    May 9, 2023

    Many state governments have sent suggestions to the Supreme Court regarding more than 50 percent reservation on the basis of caste in government jobs and educational institutions in the country.

    Reservation Limit: Chhattisgarh government has got a big relief from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has lifted the Chhattisgarh High Court’s stay on 58 per cent reservation in government jobs and admission to educational institutions. However, the Supreme Court will hear the matter once again in July.

    In the year 2012, the BJP’s Raman Singh government issued a notification for 58 percent reservation in government jobs according to the population. In this, a provision was made to give 32 percent reservation to the Scheduled Tribes of the state, 12 percent to the Scheduled Castes and 14 percent to the OBCs. This scope was more than the scope of 50 percent reservation prescribed by the constitution, which was challenged in the Chhattisgarh High Court.

    Last year, on February 19, 2022, after a decade-long case, the Chhattisgarh High Court declared 58 percent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions unconstitutional. The Chhattisgarh government and several tribal organizations in the state had filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s decision. Hearing the petition of the state government, the Supreme Court has asked to maintain 58 percent reservation for the time being.

    Why was the reservation extended?In 2012, the state’s Raman Singh government had decided to expand the scope of reservation to provide direct admission to state’s tribals in government institutions and more job opportunities. However, the current Bhupesh Baghel government is in the process of bringing 76 percent reservation in the state. Regarding this, an amendment bill has also been passed unanimously in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly to give 76 percent reservation, but at present the approval of the Governor has not been received. Due to the unclear status of reservation in the state, the entrance examinations of many engineering, medical colleges and polytechnics in Chhattisgarh were affected. These entrance examinations can be conducted after getting interim relief from the Supreme Court.

    Many states want more than 50 percent reservation

    In 2021, the Supreme Court, while hearing the reservation case of the Maratha community of Maharashtra, had sought opinion from the state governments regarding the change in the 50 percent limit of reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. At present, there are half a dozen states in the country which want to increase the existing scope of 50 percent reservation, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Karnataka. These state governments want to increase the scope of reservation to strengthen their political and social equation, but a decision of the Supreme Court given in 1992 comes in the way.

    Historic verdict in Indira Sahni case

    In 1992, the Supreme Court gave a landmark judgment in the Indira Sahni case, capping caste-based reservation at 50 per cent. After this decision, more than 50 percent reservation cannot be given on the basis of caste in the country. In the past several years, the Gujjar communities of Rajasthan, the Marathas of Maharashtra and the Patel communities of Gujarat have also demanded reservation in government jobs and educational institutions from the state governments. In the year 2019, the Modi government at the Center had decided to give 10 percent reservation to the general category on economic basis, which was different from the 50 percent reservation given by the Supreme Court on the basis of caste. After this, the reservation limit has now increased to 60 percent.

    favor of state governments

    In 2021, the BS Yeddyurappa government of Karnataka had decided to increase the scope of 50 percent reservation while holding a cabinet meeting. The cabinet was of the view that in the present environment the social scenario has completely changed and the aspirations of the backward classes have increased. The Government of Karnataka also presented its opinion on the issue of increasing the scope of reservation in the Supreme Court. At present, there is a provision of 15 percent reservation for Scheduled Castes, 3 percent for ST and 32 percent for Other Backward Classes in Karnataka.

    The Ashok Gehlot government of Rajasthan has also raised its voice several times in favor of more than 50 percent reservation. The government has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider the cap of 50 per cent and has recommended increasing it. In fact, for the last one decade, the Gujjar community of Rajasthan has been demanding separate reservation.

    69 percent reservation is being given in Tamil Nadu, in which 30 percent reservation is being given to backward classes. At the same time, this reservation is being given to 20 percent most backward class, 18 percent SC and 1 percent ST class. On the basis of the 1992 Indira Sahni Judgment, the reservation found in Tamil Nadu has been challenged in the court. The hearing of this matter is going on in the Supreme Court. Hemant Soran’s government of Jharkhand has also demanded more than 50 percent reservation. The government has also presented its stand in the Supreme Court.

    The OBC community of Jharkhand has been demanding 27 per cent reservation for many years, whereas currently it is getting 14 per cent reservation. If, on the advice of state governments, the Supreme Court agrees to increase caste-wise reservation beyond 50 percent, many political parties will get a chance to increase their vote bank and fulfill election promises. In view of the assembly elections being held every year in many states, the Supreme Court has not given its verdict in the matter of reservation. Even in the case of Chhattisgarh, the court has only lifted the ban imposed by the High Court on reservation.

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