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HC refuses to vacate stay on Jat reservation

Source: PTI
June 06, 2016 19:11 IST
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The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday refused to vacate the stay granted by it last month on Haryana government's decision to grant reservation to Jats and five other communities in jobs and educational institutions.

Taking up the matter, the vacation bench of justices Daya Chaudhary and Arun Palli fixed June 13 for arguments.

The court also directed all parties in the case to file their replies by June 10, while making it clear that no adjournment would be granted on the next date of hearing.

The development took place on Haryana's plea for vacation of ex-parte interim orders.

The counsel for Haryana said the petitioner had approached the high court without exhausting the available channel for redressal of his grievances.

He said it was mandatory for the petitioner to move the Haryana Backward Classes Commission, the statutory authority to entertain and examine complaints/issues raised by the petitioner. As such, the writ petition was not maintainable. 

"It was premature at the current stage. Therefore, the impugned stay orders were liable to be set aside on this score alone," he added.

The state counsel said the process for carrying out recruitment to various posts had already been initiated by Haryana Staff Selection Commission and Haryana Public Service Commission.

Besides, admissions to undergraduate and postgraduate courses for the session 2016-17 were also open; and candidates had applied under the backward classes category.

The admission process for professional courses such as the MBBS had also started for the 2016-17 session, he added. 

On May 26, the high court had stayed the reservation for Jats and five other communities provided by the Haryana government under a newly carved Backward Classes (C) category.

The court passed the order while hearing a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Haryana Backward Classes (reservation in services and admission in educational institutions) Act 2016 that was passed unanimously by the state assembly on March 29.

The act was challenged by Murari Lal Gupta of Bhiwani, who sought a direction to quash block 'C' of the Act, which provides reservation to Jats under the BC (C) category.

The petitioner submitted that reservation to Jat community was provided under the new Act on the basis of Justice KC Gupta commission report, which had already been quashed by the Supreme Court.

Counsel for the petitioner, Mukesh Verma, said the reservation on the basis of the Justice Gupta Commission report would amount to revision of a judicial order, which could not be done by the legislature.

He submitted that in 2014 too, the state government had introduced a bill to include Jats in the list of other backward classes for reservation in job and educational institutes.

But the Supreme Court in case of Ram Singh and others versus the Union of India had held that Jats were not backward socially, educationally and politically.

Sube Singh Samain, spokesperson of the Sarv Khap Jat Panchayat also hit out at the Yashpal Malik led All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti, saying people in Jassia village in Rohtak and elsewhere were turning out for dharnas not because of his call. 

"People of Jassia village and elsewhere have their pain which they have gone through during the February stir. These people are also protesting booking of many of their relatives, mostly youths, who have been booked on various charges during the February stir. These people believe many of these youths are innocent. They are not there for Yashpal Malik, they have not come out (for dharnas) because of Malik," Samain said.

The Jat protesters are demanding quota under OBC category, withdrawal of cases registered against community members during the previous stir, status of martyrs for those killed and jobs for their next of kin, besides compensation for the injured.

After the Jat agitation, which paralysed normal life in Haryana and affected Delhi and other neighbouring states too, the state government recently brought in laws to provide reservation for Jats and five other communities under a newly carved Backward Classes (C) category.

However, the high court stayed it, acting on a public interest litigation, after which some Jat groups announced the fresh stir.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 remained in force at sensitive places in eight districts as the administration was geared up to ensure that there is no repeat of earlier incidents when 30 people were killed, property worth hundreds of crores of rupees destroyed and key routes blocked by agitators.

A special round-the-clock control room has been set up in Chandigarh to monitor the situation.

The police and administration are keeping a close watch on miscreants trying to use the social media to spread rumours. 

Sonipat District Magistrate K Makarand Pandurang has issued orders banning all mobile internet services. The ban would be effective till further orders, an official release said.

In the wake of severe criticism for failing to check violence during the Jat quota agitation in February this year, the Khattar government had set up Prakash Singh Committee whose inqury report had indicted 90 officials for "deliberate negligence" during the stir.

The panel, in its 451-page report, had said that "administrative paralysis" had gripped the state and the "highest functionaries in the government failed to show the kind of guidance, direction and control that is expected in a crisis of such proportions". 

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