Blow to Nitish Kumar! Patna HC annuls Bihar govt’s 65% reservation hike in jobs, education

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now

👇👇👇Change Language

The Patna High Court canceled Bihar government’s notification to raise reservation from 50% to 65% for backward classes, scheduled castes, and tribes in government jobs and educational institutions. This decision was made because it goes against the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Indira Sawhney case, which sets a maximum limit of 50% for reservations.

Blow to Nitish Kumar! Patna HC annuls Bihar govt’s 65% reservation hike in jobs, education

Blow to Nitish Kumar! Patna HC Annuls Bihar Govt’s 65% Reservation Hike in Jobs, Education

In a significant blow to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s administration, the Patna High Court on Thursday annulled the Bihar government’s notification that sought to increase reservations in government jobs and higher educational institutions from 50% to 65%. This decision has profound implications for the state’s policy on affirmative action and the legislative limits of state authority.

The contentious issue revolved around the Bihar government’s legislative attempt to raise reservation quotas for backward classes, scheduled castes (SC), and scheduled tribes (ST). The increase, announced in November 2023, intended to push the total reservation to 75% when combined with an additional 10% for economically weaker sections (EWS). The court’s decision came in response to multiple petitions that challenged the constitutionality of this hike.

The Court’s Ruling

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran delivered the ruling, which addressed several petitions opposing the legislation. Petitioners argued that the state’s quota hike exceeded its legislative authority and was discriminatory, violating the fundamental rights to equality under Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitution.

“We had submitted that the amendments to the reservation laws were violative of the Constitution. After hearing both sides, the court had reserved its judgement in March. Today the final order has come and our petitions have been allowed,” said Ritika Rani, one of the counsels representing the petitioners, as reported by PTI.

Background of the Legislation

In November 2023, the Bihar government issued a gazette notification introducing two key bills: the Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (for SC, ST, EBC, and OBC) Amendment Bill, and the Bihar (in Admission in Educational Institutions) Reservation Amendment Bill, 2023. These bills proposed to elevate the quota percentages for different communities based on the results of the state’s caste survey. Specifically, the reservations were to be adjusted as follows:

  • Scheduled Castes (SC): Increased to 20%
  • Scheduled Tribes (ST): Increased to 2%
  • Extremely Backward Classes (EBC): Increased to 25%
  • Other Backward Classes (OBC): Increased to 18%

The intention behind these bills was to enhance affirmative action measures for underrepresented communities in Bihar. However, the proposed changes brought the total reservations to an unprecedented 75%, sparking legal challenges.

The Legal Challenge

Petitioners argued that the increase violated constitutional principles by surpassing the legislative authority and being inherently discriminatory. The quota hike, they contended, infringed upon the fundamental rights of citizens by breaching the equality guarantees enshrined in the Constitution. The court, after thorough consideration, found merit in these arguments and declared the Bihar government’s move unconstitutional.

Implications of the Verdict

This ruling represents a pivotal moment in Bihar’s socio-political landscape. It not only curtails the current government’s ambitious reservation policy but also sets a precedent for the permissible limits of affirmative action within the Indian constitutional framework. The decision underscores the judiciary’s role in maintaining checks and balances on legislative actions, particularly those that have far-reaching implications on social equity and justice.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s administration now faces the challenge of responding to this legal setback. The annulment of the reservation hike could lead to political ramifications, affecting the government’s standing among various voter bases, especially those directly impacted by the reservation policies.

Moving Forward

As Bihar navigates the aftermath of this ruling, it remains to be seen how the state government will adjust its approach to reservation policies. The emphasis will likely shift towards creating equitable solutions that align with constitutional mandates while addressing the aspirations of marginalized communities.

This landmark judgement by the Patna High Court reiterates the delicate balance between legislative ambitions and constitutional boundaries, a balance that is crucial for the functioning of a diverse and democratic society like India.

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top