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SC quashes decision to include Jats in OBC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed a decision to include Jats in the central list of Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in nine states for providing reservation benefits.The notification included Jat community in OBC list in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan (two districts of Bharatpur and Dholpur), Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and extended reservation benefits to Jats in job and education.

A bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi held that the central government overlooked the relevant factors and gave a go by to the statutory scheme in according reservation benefits to what it called as a “politically organised” community.The court referred to its historic judgement of granting legal recognition to transgenders to state that the government must now acknowledge that new classes are emerging that require quota benefits under the constitutional scheme. It maintained that social backwardness was the most crucial factor to ascertain backwardness and that caste cannot be the sole factor.

The bench quashed the notification issued by the UPA-II in March last year.The Centre had argued that the move was “in public interest” and that it was not bound by the recommendation of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) on the issue. The notification was issued by the previous UPA regime as a poll-eve decision to include Jats in the backward category.Later, the Narendra Modi government had also supported the UPA regime’s decision to include the Jat community in the Central OBC list for providing reservation, and refuted the allegation that it was done to gain political mileage in the general elections.

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