Allahabad High Court Nullifies Inclusion Of ‘OBC’ Castes In SC List

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Allahabad High Court Nullifies Inclusion Of ‘OBC’ Castes In SC List

| Updated: September 1, 2022 16:08

Invalidating the decision over the inclusion of three administrative orders issued between 2016 and 2019, where 18 sub-castes from the OBC (Other Backward Classes) notified under the Schedule Caste (SC) by the Uttar Pradesh government, the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday, August 31, 2022 declared the move as unconstitutional and void.

In reference to a PIL filed by Dr BR Ambedker Granthalaya Evam Jan Kalyan, Gorakhpur, and others, a division bench comprising Hon’ble Judges Rajesh Bindal and JJ Munir cancelled out the three notifications dated December 21, 2016, December 22, 2016, and June 24, 2019.

It was reported- “The first two notifications were issued by the Samajwadi Party government while the BJP government issued the third one during its previous tenure.”

As per the notifications, 18 OBCs were placed within the category of SC (the Schedule Caste) to which the High court had already intervened.

The notifications issued by the Samajwadi Party government were challenged on the ground according to the provisions stated under the Article 341 (clause 1) and 341(clause 2) of the Constitution. Article 341 empowers the President to specify castes, races or tribes to be classified as ‘SC’ under the Constitution.

During the hearing, the court had passed an interim order in favour of the petitioner and had directed the state government to not issue any caste certificate related to these notifications.

Meanwhile, another notification in the same context was issued on June 24, 2019 by the current Yogi Adityanath government during its previous tenure. This notification was challenged too in the court.

On Wednesday, after hearing the counsel, the court upheld the considerations stated in the PIL and ruled that the state government has no power in this regard.

The thorough verdict is awaited.

The sub-castes which the SP and BJP governments intended to include in the SC category were – ‘Majhwar, Kahar, Kashyap, Kevat, Mallah, Nishad, Kumhar, Prajapati, Dheevar, Bind, Bhar, Rajbhar, Dhiman, Batham, Turha, Godia, Manjhi and Machhua.’

Among these, sub-castes like Kevat, Mallah, Bind, Nishad and Manjhi broadly come under the Nishad community (this category has been demanding SC status for a long time).

Currently, Nishad Party is a part of the NDA alliance since the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Earlier, it was an ally of Samajwadi party.

Similarly, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) is claiming to have the support of Rajbhars, an ally of SP in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh elections and prior to this, it was part of NDA and its leader OP Rajbhar was also a Minister in the Yogi government. On May 20, 2019, Rajbhar was sacked from Cabinet due to his anti-alliance activities.

Stated by a political analyst, “In their OBC outreach bid, both SP and (BJP) have been trying to take certain sub-castes out of the backward bracket, where the competition for the quota pie is much stiffer, and put them in the SC category where fewer strong sub-castes like Jatavs and Pasi (under-represented castes) vie for the reservation.”

Attacking the BJP on the HC decision, Samajwadi party said that the reservation to the 18 most backward communities got nullified due to ineffective action taken by the BJP government.

“SP President Shri Akhilesh Yadav had fulfilled his promise to include 18 most backward castes in the Scheduled Castes, which was rejected by the BJP government,” the party posted a tweet in Hindi from its official Twitter handle.

Adding further to the tweet, the party said, “Now the reservation has got cancelled due to poor handling of the case by the BJP’s Yogi Adityanath government and due to lack of support from the BJP government ruling at the Centre.”

The issue of inclusion of certain OBC sub-castes in the SC list has been lingering on for the past 18 years. It was in 2004 that the Mulayam Singh Yadav government amended the Uttar Pradesh Public Services Act, 1994, to include as many as 17 OBC sub-castes in the SC category.

The issue revived when the SP came to power again in the year 2012.

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