The Union Law Ministry on Monday put the ball back into Rajasthan Government's court on the Gujjar issue by saying that the initiative for giving reservation to any community needs to be taken by the state.
In its opinion sent to the Home Ministry, sources said, the Law Ministry maintained that there is a provision in the Constitution for giving quota to a particular community but the decision has to be taken by the respective state government.
Referring to the Maharashtra pattern, the Ministry is believed to have said that any state government which wants to give quota benefits to a community has to approach the Centre along with the justification, based on data, for extending the benefit to it.
While citing the example of benefits extended to tribals in Maharashtra, the Law Ministry's opinion is understood to have also pointed towards Article 16 (1) of the Constitution that is linked to these issues, sources said.
The ministry's opinion on the issue was sought by the Prime Minister's Office after Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's wrote a letter in the light of violent protests over the quota issue.
In her letter, Raje recommended four to six per cent quota for Gujjars in the category of de-notified class of tribals/nomadic tribe.
The Gujjar agitation over the issue left 43 dead in Rajasthan and neighbouring areas of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the National Capital Region.