The Punjab and Haryana high court gave last chance to the Haryana government on Monday to clear its stand on the issue of reservation to Jats and four other communities of the state given during the tenure of former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 2013.
During the resumed hearing on a petition challenging government decision to give 10% reservation to these communities in government jobs and admissions in educational institutions, Haryana advocate general BR Mahajan told the high court that the state was awaiting outcome of review petition filed in the Supreme Court, whereby Jats' inclusion in central government's OBC caste list was set aside. "As of now, we are proceeding with the government notification of (March) 2013," Mahajan told the high court stating that recruitment and admissions being done would be subject to the outcome of the SC order.
However, hearing the case, the division bench of justice S K Mittal and justice HS Sidhu observed that to continue with the notification of 2013 was "somehow contempt" also. "Why don't you restrain your hand. If employment is given to a person or admission is given to a student on the basis of it, tomorrow if petition is set aside, where will they go. We don't want to spoil the career of students," the bench observed, asking the government to clear its stand. The court also made it clear that no further adjournments would be given to the state on the issue.
Appearing on behalf of the various Jat bodies, former Haryana advocate general HS Hooda told the court that the SC order was in the context of Jats in the central list. However, the court countered the argument, stating that the report on the basis of which reservation was given in Haryana had not been accepted.
Later, the high court gave the state one week's time to clear its stand, stating that either the state says it is restraining itself from providing the reservation or the court would pass an order on the issues raised by petitioners.
The 10% reservation was given on the recommendation of Haryana Backward Classes Commission (HBCC) under special backward class (SBC) quota for Jats, Jat Sikhs, Bishnois, Rors and Tyagis in 2013 by the previous Congress government. However, the Supreme Court, while quashing the Jat quota in March 2015 in central government jobs given by the United Progressive Alliance government (UPA), set aside the report based on which the state had given reservation to these communities in Haryana. The state has to respond by July 27.