Legal hurdles remain for Chhattisgarh govt's quota law

Legal hurdles remain for Chhattisgarh govt's quota law

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Bhupesh Baghel. (Photo: IANS)
By Sundeep Pouranik
Raipur, Sep 6 (IANS) The Governor may have signed the Chhattisgarh Public Service (Reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs) Amendment Ordinance 2019 that increases reservation in the state to 82 per cent, but legal hurdles to the law remain.
The Chhattisgarh government issued the ordinance 20 days after Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced increasing the percentage of reservation for SCs, STs, OBCs and the economically weaker sections in the general category in the state in his Independence Day speech.
Under the amended law, the quota for Scheduled Castes (SC) has been increased from 12 per cent to 13 per cent and for Other Backward Castes from 14 per cent to 27 per cent.
No change has been made to the Scheduled Tribes (ST) quota, which remain 32 per cent.
Besides, Chhattisgarh will also offer 10 per cent reservation to the economically weaker sections (EWS) from the general category, taking the total percentage of quota to 82 per cent in the state.
The government, in the Gazette, has clarified that the families with the Gross Domestic Income of Rs 8 lakh per annum would be eligible for the EWS quota. All income sources of the previous financial year would be included at the time of applying for public service.
The population in Chhattisgarh comprises 32 per cent STs, 12 per cent SCs and 45 per cent OBCs. The new quota policy has been adopted to keep this 89 per cent population happy.
"No one will oppose reservation, but it should be implemented keeping in mind the Constitutional provisions. This new reservation system will benefit the Congress," said Rudra Awasthi, a political analyst.
"Anyone can easily challenge the amendment, because the Constitution doesn't allow more than 50 per cent reservation. The Supreme Court has stayed the state laws that increase reservation limits. The Chhattisgarh government has cited the volume of population for enhancing the quota limit, but it would be easy to challenge," said Rakesh Jha, a legal expert.
According to experts, the Supreme Court has only maintained more than 50 per cent reservation in two states -- Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, which offer 69 per cent and 64 per cent quota respectively.
That's because Tamil Nadu passed the ordinance raising the percentage of reservation in the state under Schedule 9 of the Constitution. Ordinances passed under Schedule 9 cannot be challenged legally.
The Maharashtra government conducted a survey of more than 43,000 families to extend the benefits of reservation to the Marathas.
According to experts, the Chhattisgarh government has increased the reservation percentage on population grounds, which can be legally challenged. If the law manages to clear the legal hurdle, it will help the Congress. If it does not, the state's Congress government will still benefit from it. It will then go about telling the people that it tried to give reservation, but the people themselves approached the court and got it cancelled.
(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at sundeep.p@ians.in)
--IANS
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(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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