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Rajasthan Assembly passes Bill raising reservation for OBCs to 26%

The move takes the total reservation in the state to 54% and comes before bypolls to Ajmer and Alwar, both of which have a high concentration of OBC votes.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2017 23:52 IST
HT Correspondent, Jaipur
Rajasthan Assembly,OBCs,OBC
Social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi presented the bill and said it has been brought based on the principle of social justice. (HT File Photo)

The Rajasthan assembly on Thursday passed a bill to increase the reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the state’s educational institutions and government jobs from 21% to 26%.

The move takes the total reservation in the state to 54% and comes before bypolls to Ajmer and Alwar, both of which have a high concentration of OBC votes.

The OBC category in Rajasthan has 91 castes and represents 52% of state’s population.

The Rajasthan Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Bill, 2017 was passed with voice vote.

Former Rajasthan high court judge Pana Chand Jain said the new bill will not stand the scrutiny of courts for two reasons — it exceeds the 50% limit and the state government did not follow directions of Rajasthan high court, which struck down the previous reservation bill in December 2016.

Social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi presented the bill and said it has been brought based on the principle of social justice.

Later, he told media, “We are a welfare state and the government functions on the principal of social justice.”

He said the bill had been brought after the report of the high-power committee appointed by the state government and headed by Justice (retd) Sunil Kumar Garg and the State Backward Classes Commission, which have recommended that there are reasonable grounds to exceed the 50% reservation limit.

The Garg committee submitted its report on July 10 this year. It was then referred to the State Backward Classes Commission that submitted its report on July 16. The reports noted that these castes should be provided 1% reservation from within the limit of 50% laid down and 4% from beyond that limit for which compelling circumstances do exist.

Thus the total reservation of these castes should be 5% and total reservation of backward classes as a whole should be 26%, said Chaturvedi.

But Gujjar leader Himmat Singh accused the government of “cheating them”. “The government has fooled us. There is no clarity how much reservation has been given. They are repeatedly cheating us,” he said.

The Gujjars, present in 21 districts of the state, have held several stirs since 2006 demanding scheduled tribe (ST) status.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 21:35 IST