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Patna high court strikes down Bihar govt’s 65% reservation in jobs, education | India News

NEW DELHI: Patna high court on Thursday struck down a 65 per cent reservation cap set by the state in government jobs and educational institutions.
The high court in March had reserved its judgment on a batch of writ petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the increase in quota for backward, extremely backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes from 50% to 65% in government jobs and higher educational institutions in the state.
A division bench of Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Harish Kumar reserved the judgment while concluding a marathon hearing on 10 writ petitions filed by one Gaurav Kumar and others.
The petitioners had challenged the constitutional validity of the amendments made in reservation laws. On Nov 21, the state government had notified the amended reservation laws.
The Bihar government in November last year had officially notified in the state gazette two bills, aiming to raise the quota for deprived castes from 50% to 65% in government jobs and educational institutions.
With the enactments, Bihar held the highest reservation percentage among larger states, reaching a total of 75%.
The two bills that hiked quota
The two bills, namely the Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Amendment Bill-2023 and the Bihar (in admission in educational institutions) Reservation Bill, 2023, had become law after the gazette notification.
Bihar, with the law, was the second only to Tamil Nadu to provide the highest percentage of reservation to backward classes.
While Tamil Nadu offers 50%, Bihar provided 43% reservations for them, followed by Sikkim and Kerala with 40% each.
Notably, Bihar also provides a 10% quota for the economically weaker section (EWS) among the upper castes.
According to the gazette notification, the revised reservation percentages included 20% for scheduled castes, 2% for scheduled tribes, 18% for backward classes, 25% for extremely backward classes, and the EWS has 10% quota in the state.
The amendments represented an increase in the quota for scheduled castes from 16% to 20%, scheduled tribes from 1% to 2%, extremely backward classes from 18% to 25%, and backward classes from 15% to 18%.
Bihar governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar had given his assent to both bills, facilitating the implementation of the new quota system.
Following the gazette notification, CM Nitish Kumar urged officials to ensure the effective implementation of the increased quota percentage in state government jobs and educational institutions “for the benefit of those who need it”.
Haryana govt faced similar blow
Last year, the Punjab and Haryana high court had set aside the Haryana government’s law– The Haryana state Employment of Local Candidates Act 2020, providing 75% reservation in Haryana industries for the domiciles of the state.
The division bench comprising Justice G S Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan of the HC passed these orders after hearing several petitions filed by various Industrial bodies of Haryana.
The main grievance of the Industrial bodies was that by introducing policy of “Son of Soils”, the Haryana government wants to create reservation in private sector which is infringement of the constitutional rights of the employers because private sector jobs are purely based on the skills and analytical blend of mind of the employees who are citizen of India having constitutional rights on the basis of their education to do jobs in any part of India.

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