Day after, Nitish Kumar cabinet nod for 10% EWS quota in judicial appointments

Oct 03, 2023 06:47 PM IST

The Nitish Kumar cabinet approved changes to guidelines of the state judicial services to % reservation for poor candidates

PATNA: The Nitish Kumar cabinet on Tuesday approved 10% reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) in the judicial services, and the state-run law colleges and universities.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar at birth anniversary function of Mahatma Gandhi in Patna on Monday (ANI)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar at birth anniversary function of Mahatma Gandhi in Patna on Monday (ANI)

“The cabinet approved amendments in the guidelines of the State Judicial Services, 1951, allowing 10% reservation for EWS category in judicial services and also in state-run law institutes and universities,” said additional chief secretary (cabinet) S Siddhartha.

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The senior official said the reservation will come into effect from the date of the notification of the change.

The move comes a day after the Bihar government released the first set of data based on the caste survey on Monday. The data showed that extremely backward communities constituted 36.01% of the population, and backward classes made up another 27.12%. Together, other backward classes (OBC) — the umbrella group that consists of backward classes and extremely backward classes (EBCs) in the state — were 63.13%.

As the data put the percentage of upper castes in the state at about 15%, Nitish Kumar emphasised hours later that the survey wouldn’t just help the backward classes but all sections of society. “Our focus will be on making policies targeted at castes which may be deemed to be in need of greater assistance. I must add, the survey will benefit all castes, without exception,” Kumar, the state’s longest-serving chief minister, said on Monday evening.

The decision to introduce EWS quota for judicial officers is also an effort to blunt criticism by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that the opposition parties such as the Congress and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United were trying to divide Hindus along caste lines. It is a point that was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well.

Bihar’s caste survey has already led to demands for a nationwide caste census. Opposition leaders believe the demand would give the opposition grouping a new narrative and attempt to split the OBC vote, much of which had consolidated behind the BJP in recent elections.

“I think everyone in INDIA alliance is on board with our demand,’’ said INDIA’s coordination committee member and senior JD (U) national president Lallan Singh. “Whenever we raised it and took it to the Centre, they have opposed it. It’s obvious why they are doing so-- it’s because if this happens nationally, their communal agenda will fail.’’

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    Subhash Pathak is special correspondent of Hindustan Times with over 15 years of experience in journalism, covering issues related to governance, legislature, police, Maoism, urban and road infrastructure of Bihar and Jharkhand.

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