In an important verdict, Madhya Pradesh high court’s principal bench in Jabalpur on Tuesday ordered the state government to make recruitments with 14% OBC quota and keep 13% as ‘reserve’. The HC clarified that the 14% reservation for backward classes should continue and posted the matter for hearing on August 10.
During the hearing, the state government has pleaded before the court that in view of the possible third wave, appointment of physicians was imperative. The HC on this allowed the state government to prepare the merit list with 27% reservation but directed the state government that posting could only be given with 14% OBC reservation.
The state government contended that the OBC population was more than 50% in the state, and offering them 27% reservation was justified.
The petitioners opposing the increased reservation cited that the Supreme Court had in May rejected a similar demand of Maratha reservation brought in by the Maharashtra government. One of the counsels of the petitioners claimed that in accordance with SC’s judgment pronounced in the Indra Sawhney case, reservation cannot exceed the upper limit of 50%.
The state government emphasised that the apex court had also specified that the 50% limit can be breached in special circumstances, urging the HC to consider OBC population as special case.
Former chief minister Kamal Nath had announced to increase the OBC quota to 27% in the state in 2019. However, several petitions were filed with the HC, opposing the move. The Congress and the BJP got engaged in a war of words over who the well-wisher of the OBC was. The petitioners in the case included OBC students, OBC Joint Front, OBC advocate welfare committee and other social organisations. One of the lawyers, Rameshwar Thakur, had also challenged the constitutional validity of the EWS quota. A total of 31 petitions are pending with the HC over increased quota.
(Inputs Pratik Awasthi)