Jat quota in Haryana: Supreme Court continues status quo order

The Supreme Court today continued its interim order granting status quo on the operation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict upholding the constitutional validity of the law providing ten per cent reservation to Jats and five other communities in Haryana.

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked Haryana to file within three weeks its counter affidavit on the plea which has also opposed the Haryana Backward Classes Act of 2016.

“Counter affidavit be filed within three weeks. Rejoinder affidavit be filed within three weeks thereafter. List thereafter. Interim order to continue in the meantime,” the bench noted in its order.

On March 26, the apex court had ordered status quo on the operation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict.

The petitioner had earlier informed the top court that the Backward Class Commission would submit its report on the percentage of quota by March 31.

The Haryana Assembly had unanimously passed The Haryana Backward Classes (reservation in services and admission in educational institutions) Bill 2016 on March 29, 2016. The government had notified the Act in its gazette on May 12, 2016.

The new Act provided reservation to Jat and five other communities including Jat Sikh, Bishnoi and Tyagi under a newly carved out backward class (C) category. As per the Act, these communities would be entitled to get 10 per cent reservation in government services and admission in educational institutions.

However, on May 26, 2016, a division bench of the high court had stayed the reservation to these communities after hearing a plea challenging the constitutional validity of schedule-III (block-C) of the Act. The plea had sought directions to set aside the bill for being against the law laid down by the supreme court in the Indira Sawhney case.

According to the petition, with the passing of the new bill, the total reservation had reached around 70 per cent, but according to the law laid down by supreme court, the quota limit could not exceed 50 per cent. The high court had on September 1 2017, upheld the constitutional validity of the Act.

In February 2016, the state had seen violent protests by the Jat community demanding quota in jobs and educational institutions which virtually brought Haryana to a halt. The agitation had left many dead and several grievously injured.

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