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SC quashes extension of OBC reservation to Jats

By The Assam Tribune

New Delhi, March 17 (IANS): The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed the March 4, 2014 notification by the UPA government extending OBC reservation to Jats in nine States, ignoring the recommendation of the National Commission for Backward Classes to the contrary.

An apex court bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said, "We can't agree that politically organised Jats are backward class so as to be entitled to OBC reservation.

"Inclusion of politically organised class, such as Jats... can't be affirmed," said Justice Gogoi, pronouncing the judgment.

"Caste alone can't be the basis for reservation. We have to move towards contemporary criteria," the court said, citing the inclusion of transgender as backwards.

The then Congress-led UPA government had on March 4, a day before the Model Code of Conduct for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls came into force, issued a notification extending reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) to the Jat community.

Tuesday's verdict came on a bunch of petitions challenging the government decision to bring Jats in the ambit of OBC quota.

The National Commission for Backward Castes was against including Jats in OBC quotas.

The petitioners contended that the March 4 notification was aimed at garnering votes in the Lok Sabha election.

The Narendra Modi government too backed the UPA decision, saying it was not inspired by electoral considerations but a bonafide decision in public interest. "It is submitted that the Central government has acted bonafide and in public interest," the Central government said in an affidavit, supporting the UPA's decision.

Seeking the dismissal of the petition by OBC Reservation Raksha Samiti and others challenging the extension, the government affidavit said: "In the present case, the advice tendered by the National Commission for Backward Classes was rejected by the cabinet for the reason that the commission has not adequately taken into account the ground realities."

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