The Rajasthan High Court on Friday ruled that the state government’s decision to provide 50 per cent reservation for women and 20 per cent for youth in elections to local bodies was illegal.
A division bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice M N Bhandari observed that the quotas violated Article 14 of the Constitution, which lays down that all citizens are equal before the law.
The bench quashed the relevant provision in the Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 2009 providing the quotas.
The court said that before providing reservation to women, the state government had not undertaken a survey to collect data on the male and female populations in Rajasthan. The court said 50 per cent reservation could not be given to women if their population was less than half the state’s total population.
Regarding a quota for youth, the court said that if the government wants to introduce this provision, it has to collect relevant data about the population of youth in the state.
Counsel for the petitioner, Anoop Dhand, said the Constitution has no provision for special quota for youth. He pointed out that there is no provision for reservation for youth in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
The petition urging reversal of the quotas was filed by businessman Mohammed Kaleem of Sikar town last September.
The Congress government headed by Ashok Gehlot had through an amendment to the Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 2009 in September last year brought in a provision for 50 per cent reservation for women and 20 per cent for youth aged between 21 and 35 years.