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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh , January 23, 2013
Haryana chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, on Wednesday announced that the council of ministers has accepted the recommendations of the cabinet sub-committee headed by finance minister, HS Chatha, on the issue of reservation for economically backward persons in general category in Haryana. 


The chief minister said that the reservation for economically backward persons of 10 % as recommended by Haryana Backward Classes Commission (HBCC) would be vertical and not horizontal.

The HBCC on December 12, 2012 had recommended 10 % reservation in government jobs for five castes - Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Tyagis and Bishnois under special backward class category. This was in addition to 27 % reservation already being given to backward classes by the state government.

Hooda on Wednesday said a notification regarding the 10 % reservation to five castes under special backward class category and 10 % quota for economically backward persons in general category would be issued soon.
 
Since Haryana already provides 20 % reservation in jobs to scheduled castes and 27 % reservation of backward classes, implementation of fresh recommendations to provide 10 % exclusive quota for the five castes and 10 % separate reservation to economically backward categories will mean 67 % reservation in the state.
 
The decision of the state government to implement these recommendations  may not stand legal scrutiny as the Supreme Court in its 1992 judgment in Indira Sawhney and others versus Union of India and others has held that: "The reservations contemplated in Clause (4) of Article 16 should not exceed 50%."  

Article 16 of the Constitution provides  for equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. Its clause 4 says that nothing in this article shall prevent the state from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any  backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the state, is not adequately represented in the services under the state.

The HBCC in its report however analysed the SC order and based their recommendation on the apex court’s view that while 50 % shall be the rule, it is necessary not to put out of consideration certain extraordinary situations inherent in the great diversity of this country and the people.

Meanwhile, the cabinet sub-committee while laying down the criteria for 10 % reservation to economically backward persons has said that the annual income of the family of the applicant should not cumulatively exceed Rs. 2.50 lakh per annum for entitlement in category of ‘economically backward class’. The annual income of Rs. 2.50 lakh shall be gross income of the family that is income from all sources, including agriculture income. In case any person in the family is income­ tax or wealth tax payee, benefit of reservation would not be extended. The applicant or family should not be in Class-I or Class-II services of government of India or state government level or equivalent or hold any equivalent post in any statutory Board/Corporation/University/Society/Trust or an equivalent position in any public or private limited company or in any international organisation.

As per the criteria, ‘family’ for the purpose of the applicant seeking reservation as ‘economically backward’ is defined as head of family and his or her spouse; unmarried sons or unmarried daughters; applicant and his or her spouse; dependant parents or dependent children; unmarried dependant brothers or unmarried dependant sisters; and any other person dependant on head of the family or applicant.  The cabinet sub-committee is also of the opinion that those who claim benefit of reservation under other categories will not be entitled to claim benefit of reservation of 10 % as economically backward classes.

On December 12, 2012, the council of ministers had constituted a sub-committee of the cabinet to consider the recommendations of the HBCC regarding reservation for economically backward persons in general category and to suggest specific programmes for economic uplift of special backward classes as suggested by the commission. The sub-committee considered the HBCC report regarding identification of economically backward classes persons and submitted its report on January 22, 2013.