The Allahabad high court on Tuesday directed the principal secretary, social welfare, not to issue Scheduled Caste certificates to candidates belonging to 17 OBC sub-categories, as recommended by the Uttar Pradesh government in December.
The court asked the principal secretary to circulate the order among officers in all districts to ensure compliance.
The bench comprising Chief Justice DB Bhosale and Justice Yashwant Varma passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by the Dr BR Ambedkar Granthalaya Jan Kalyan Society.
The petition challenged the inclusion of candidates from 17 Other Backward Classes (OBCs) sub-categories in the SC list.
The petitioner said that if the state government issues SC certificates to such candidates, they would be able to contest assembly election on seats reserved for SC category.
Advocate general VB Singh said the state government had neither issued nor it would issue SC certificate to 17 OBC candidates who were recommended by state government for inclusion in SC list during pendency of the petition.
The petitioner’s counsel said the Constitution empowered the central government to make such amendments and include a category in the SC list.
“Such a decision taken by the state government is violative of Article 341 of the Constitution. The state government cannot initiate the process of inclusion of a caste in the list of Schedule Caste on its own,” he said.
“The state government issued a government order on December 22, 2016 for inclusion of 17 castes under OBC category in the list of Scheduled Castes. Thereafter, the personnel department of the state government issued a notification on December 31 to this effect and ordered to provide all facilities of SC to the 17 OBC category candidates,” the petitioner said.
The state cabinet had recommended inclusion of Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua sub-castes in the SC category.
The court fixed February 9 as the next date of hearing.