Patna HC seeks response from Nitish govt on petitions challenging reservation quota hike

The petitioners have alleged that the state government took the step "just on the grounds of increased backward class population."
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (File photo | PTI)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. (File photo | PTI)

PATNA: The Patna high court on Friday issued a directive to the Bihar government to file its response on a batch of petitions challenging the recent increase in reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Extremely Backward Classes.

While hearing the petitions, a division bench led by Chief Justice K Vonod Chandran asked Nitish Kumar-led grand alliance government, represented by Advocate General P K Shahi, to file a counter affidavit within four weeks.

The court earlier bunched all the Public Interest Litigations (PILs) on the matter. The court, however, turned down the request of the petitioners to put a stay on the government's order with regard to increasing the reservation quota from the existing 50 per cent to 65 per cent in government jobs and admission in educational institutions in the state.

The petitioners had termed the legislation passed by the Bihar assembly and legislative council last month giving a hike to reservation quotas to 65 per cent in addition to 10 per cent for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), 'unconstitutional'.

The petitioners further contended that the Supreme Court judgment in the famous Indra Sawhney case had restricted the overall cap to 50 per cent which could be changed only in extremely exceptional cases. They alleged that the Nitish Kumar government took the step 'just on the grounds of increased backward class

The government had conducted a caste-based survey which projected the combined population of OBCs and EBCs to be 63.13 per cent. The petitioners also contended that the statistics of the survey seemed 'politically motivated'.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earlier alleged that the population of OBCs and EBCs had been shown inflated in the survey report released by the government on October 2. The state government had to spend Rs.500 crore to conduct the survey.

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