Gujarat High Court today issued notice to the state government over a petition challenging an ordinance providing 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to members of Economically Weaker Section (EWS) as being “contrary to fundamental rights”.
A vacation bench of Justice Paresh Upadhyay issued notice to secretaries of Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs department, Education department and General Administrative department, and posted the matter for further hearing on June 22.
The notice was issued after Jayantbhai Manani filed a petition challenging the May 1 ordinance, in which he stated that “special provision for reservation to economically weaker section is contrary to fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution”.
The petitioner said the ordinance was in “direct conflict” with the judgement of the apex court that a state cannot provide more than 50 per cent reservation, and that reservation could only be allowed on “ground of social and educational backwardness and not poverty per se”.
The petitioner also questioned the passage of ordinance “without collecting necessary data with regard to economical backwardness”.
“In absence of such a data or inquiry, classification of EWS suffer from arbitrariness. Before granting reservation to economical weaker section, state authority have to identify, measure and quantifiable data by showing backwardness of the EWS in general category and inadequacy of representation of a class in public employment under the state,” the petitioner said.
In the petition, Manani also highlighted measures taken by the state government for the uplift of EWS through Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavalamban Yojana under which Rs 1000-crore package was set aside for scholarship to students, age relaxation for government jobs for economical weaker section, among other measures applicable from this year.
The state government, on May 1, issued Gujarat Unreserved Economically Weaker Sections (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Ordinance, 2016, against the backdrop of the agitation by Patidar community for reservation.
It provides 10 per cent reservation to persons from unreserved category from economically weaker sections of the society other than SCs, STs and SEBCs for admissions in the educational institutions and government jobs.
The reservation is applicable to persons with annual family income cap of Rs 6 lakh.
( Source – PTI )