Interim stay on Gujarat HC's order quashing state's ordinance providing quota for poor to continue

The interim stay on Gujarat High Court's decision quashing a state government ordinance providing 10 percent quota for economically backward among the unreserved category, including the agitating Patel community, would continue, Supreme Court said on Monday.

PTI August 22, 2016 18:10:46 IST
Interim stay on Gujarat HC's order quashing state's ordinance providing quota for poor to continue

New Delhi: The interim stay on Gujarat High Court's decision quashing a state government ordinance providing 10 percent quota for economically backward among the unreserved category, including the agitating Patel community, would continue, Supreme Court said on Monday.

Interim stay on Gujarat HCs order quashing states ordinance providing quota for poor to continue

File image of Supreme Court. AFP

A bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said it would further hear the matter on 29 August and added that there would be no admission till further orders. The bench was hearing a petition by Gujarat government challenging the high court's 4 August order quashing the ordinance.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Gujarat government, said the high court had struck down the ordinance which has been challenged. Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for general category students, said the high court's stay was till 17 August and the order should remain operational till the apex court hears the matter.

He also said there were holidays in between, due to which the apex court could not hear it. While quashing the ordinance, the high court had stayed operation of its order by two weeks on the request of state government to enable filing of an appeal in the apex court.

Terming the 1 May ordinance as "inappropriate and unconstitutional", the high court had rejected the state's argument that it was a classification under the general category and not the reserved category and held that it will breach the 50 percent quota cap set by the Supreme Court.

The court had observed that 10 percent reservation for poor among the unreserved category took the total quota beyond 50 percent, which was not permitted as per the apex court's earlier decision. The high court had also said that the government took the decision without any study or scientific data.

Petitioners Dayaram Verma, Ravjibhai Manani, Dulari Basarge and Gujarat Parents' Association had separately challenged the ordinance declaring reservation of 10 percent seats to candidates belonging to the unreserved category with family income cap of Rs 6 lakh annually in government jobs and educational institutions. Their petitions were heard together.

The state government had said the quota was actually "a further classification in the general, open, unreserved category" and does not violate either the Supreme Court order or the constitutional provisions. The state government, in its affidavit, said the ordinance does not violate provisions of the Constitution nor does it go against the apex court orders.

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