With the quota legislation piloted by the BJP government being stayed by the Punjab and Haryana high court, Jats have resumed their agitation. However, the dharnas and protests at several places across the state have been low-key and trouble-free so far. Hitender Rao takes a close look at the issue.
WHAT ARE THE JATS AGITATING FOR NOW?
Though the quota demand in the state and central jobs remains a perennial feature of their agitation, the community is pushing for withdrawal of criminal cases registered during the February quota violence, seeking monetary compensation and employment for the kin of the deceased.
WHAT CAN THE GOVERNMENT DO TO MOLLIFY JATS?
Practically, not much since the matter is before the high court. At best, it can defend its quota law well in the high court or file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.
WHAT IS RESERVATION CONFIGURATION IN HARYANA?
The total reservation in the state is 67%, which is in clear contravention of 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the landmark Indira Sawhney case. The apex court had ruled that reservation contemplated under Article 16 (4) of the Constitution should not exceed 50%. Article 16 provides for equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. The quota for scheduled castes is 20%, for backward classes it is 37% and 10% for economically backward persons.
HOW IS QUOTA %AGE IN HARYANA CATEGORISED?
For scheduled castes, the reservation is 20%. There are three categories for backward classes — 71 castes under BC (A) have 16% reservation, six castes under BC (B) have 11% reservation and six castes, including the Jats under the newly created BC (C) have 10% reservation for Class 3 and 4 jobs. The quota for Class 1 and 2 jobs for BC (A) is 11%, for BC (B) and BC (C) it is 6% each. There is also a 10% reservation for economically backward people of general category.
HOW WAS QUOTA IN CONG REGIME DIFFERENT?
There is only once difference. While the Congress government had granted quota to Jats under an executive order, the present government brought a Bill in the assembly to enact legislation and secure the quota under it.
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF OLD AND NEW JAT QUOTAS?
The previous Congress government had re-constituted Haryana Backward Classes Commission (HBCC) to look into the quota demands of Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Tyagis and Bishnois. The HBCC recommended 10% reservation for five castes under Special Backward Class (SBC) category, which was implemented by it. However, the SBC quota was stayed by Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 27, 2015. Following widespread violence in February, the BJP government brought a Bill in Haryana assembly to provide 10 % reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to Jats and five other castes. The Act was notified on May 12, 2016 and stayed by the Punjab and Haryana high court on May 26.
WAS JUDICIAL SCRUTINY TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT?
In order to secure the enacted quota law from judicial review, the state government had decided to make a request to the Central government to include the reservation law in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution. This was to be done to ensure that the reservation law cannot be challenged as violative of fundamental rights and gets protection under Article 31-B of the Constitution. However, the move could not be initiated.