The Allahabad high court on Monday reserved its order on the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission’s reservation policy which opened up unreserved seats for reserved categories candidates, triggering controversy.
The court directed the panel not to conduct interviews for the Provincial Civil Service (PCS)-2011 examinations scheduled from July 26 “till the date of delivery of judgment".
The UPPSC’s reservation policy led to widespread violence in Allahabad and spread to other parts of the state.
A division bench comprising justice Laxmi Kant Mohapatra and justice Rakesh Srivastava reserved verdict on petitions filed by students opposing the new policy wherein caste-based quotas were brought into effect at the preliminary stage itself.
The court questioned the UPPSC's "haste" in bringing the new policy after being told that it was "passed by voice-vote after a member of the commission brought forth the proposal".
On May 27, 2013, a proposal put forward by UPPSC member Gurdarshan Singh said, “The UPPSC from 1994 has been inviting a given number of applicants for interviews against the vacancies advertised for reserved candidates (SC/ST/OBC), but for the recruitments against unreserved seats, only general category candidates are called and students belonging to reserved categories are left out.”
The proposal added, “Actually, UR (unreserved) vacancies do not belong to any category and candidates belonging to all the categories should be called for interviews under the UR category.”
Singh’s proposal was accepted at the May 27 meeting presided by UPPSC chairman Anil Kumar Yadav.
Violent protests had erupted in Allahabad over this order. People took to the streets, staging a massive road blockade and restricting traffic movement on the national highway for over six hours on July 10.
Some students began an indefinite hunger strike on July 11. More violence was reported from Allahabad on July 15.
As a precautionary measure, the district administration has ordered closure of all schools on Monday and Tuesday. Traffic has been diverted on all roads leading to the UPPSC headquarters here, with heavy barricading and deployment of forces.
Nearly 3,000 personnel of police, Provincial Armed Constabulary and Rapid Action Force have been pressed into service.
The court order was welcomed by those opposing the new policy, but resented by those in its favour. Several students at Allahabad University, which has been converted into a virtual garrison by the district administration to prevent any outbreak of violence, were seen smearing each other's faces with gulal.
Stray incidents of violence were reported from nearby Salori locality, where the police cane-charged a group of students raising slogans in support of the reservation policy.
BOX: What are candidates apprehensive about?
1. New policy makes reservations a three-tier process to be enforced at every stage of PCS exams including prelims, mains and interviews. This could lead to number of general category aspirants getting jobs going down
2. General category students have argued only state legislature can make amendments in the existing regulations of UPPSC and the reservation is against the true spirit of the Constitution and the Supreme Court judgment in Indra Sahani case in 1974
3. UPPSC took this decision after conducting examinations smoothly for 20 years.