Setback to Nitish Kumar as Patna HC scraps Bihar govt's quota hike to 65% in jobs, education - Hindustan Times
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Setback to Nitish Kumar as Patna HC scraps Bihar govt's quota hike to 65% in jobs, education

Jun 20, 2024 12:20 PM IST

The notification, issued in November 2023, sought to amend existing reservation laws, which would have brought the total reservation in the state to 75%.

The Patna high court on Thursday set aside the Bihar government's notification increasing quota for backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes from 50% to 65% in government jobs and higher educational institutions in the state. A division bench headed by Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran passed the order on a batch of writ petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the legislations brought by the Nitish Kumar government in November 2023.

The Nitish Kumar government on November 21 last year issued gazette notifications for raising the quota for deprived castes from 50 to 65 per cent in state government jobs and educational institutions. (HT)
The Nitish Kumar government on November 21 last year issued gazette notifications for raising the quota for deprived castes from 50 to 65 per cent in state government jobs and educational institutions. (HT)

The Bihar government had issued the gazette notification for the two reservation bills – Bihar Reservation of vacancies in posts and services (For SC, ST, EBC and OBC) Amendment Bill and the Bihar (In Admission In Educational, Institutions) Reservation Amendment Bill, 2023 – paving the way for increase in quota from the existing 50% to 65%. With this, total reservation in the state would have reached 75% after adding 10% to the economic and weaker sections (EWS).

Based on the findings of the caste survey in the state, the government increased the quota for Scheduled Caste (SC) to 20%, for Scheduled Tribe (ST) to 2%, Extremely Backward Classes (EBC) to 25% and Other Backward Classes (OBC) to 18%.

“On analysis of data collected during ‘Caste based Survey 2022-23, it is apparent that large section of backward classes, schedule caste and schedule tribe need to be promoted for them to catch up to satisfy cherished aim in the Constitution of equality in opportunity and status,” the gazette notification stated.

The petitioners had argued that the hike in reservation by the state government was beyond its legislative powers.

“The amendments are violative of the Supreme Court verdict passed in the case of Indira Sawhney versus Union of India whereby a maximum ceiling of 50% was laid down. The quota hike was also discriminatory in nature and violative of the fundamental rights to equality as guaranteed to the citizens by Articles 14,15 and 16,” the petitioners' counsel had submitted.

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