Gujarat Govt to appeal against HC's EBC order
Gujarat High Court (HC) quashed a 10% quota for Economically Backward Classes (EBC) announced by the Gujarat Government. Earmarking a separate 10% quota for EBC exceeds the Supreme Court mandated upper limit of 50% reservation. Gujarat HC while delivering this order termed the EBC quota as "unconstitutional and illegal" as quota based on economic criteria isn't allowed under the Constitution.
The Gujarat Government had announced the EBC quota on May 1, 2016; the ordinance provided for reserving ten percent seats in government jobs and educational institutes. Eligible candidates would be those belonging to unreserved category (Patidars, Brahmins, Baniyas) whose families' annual income is less than 6 lakh rupees. The EBC quota had been announced by the state government to quell the raging Patidar agitation.
The Patidars, an affluent community in Gujarat, have been protesting for a year for reservation in government jobs and colleges. The government conceded to their demands by announcing an EBC quota for the unreserved category. Although belonging to the upper castes, the Patidars have been demanding an OBC status. The protests were organised by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti headed by Hardik Patel.
Reactions & Responses
The spokesperson of the Gujarat Government reiterated the government's resolve to seeing the EBC quota for upper castes become a reality. He also indicated that the government will challenge the HC's order in the Supreme Court as soon as possible. Leader of the Patidar agitation welcomed the HC's order and reaffirmed their commitment to getting reservation under the Other Backward Castes (OBC) category.
Who is Hardik Patel?
Hardik Patel, 23 years old, is the leader of the Patidar agitation. He was imprisoned in October 2015 on sedition charges and was recently released after 9 months. His bail was granted on the condition that he remain out of Gujarat for six months.