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Patna High Court scraps 65% reservations for Backward Classes, EBCs, SCs & STs; check details

This decision effectively abolishes the 65% reservation quota previously allocated for Backward Classes, Economically Backward Classes (EBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs), and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the state. 

Patna High Court scraps 65% reservations for Backward Classes, EBCs, SCs & STs; check details AJR
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First Published Jun 20, 2024, 11:58 AM IST

The Patna High Court on Thursday made a significant ruling by invalidating the Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (Amendment) Act, 2023, along with The Bihar (In admission in Educational Institutions) Reservation (Amendment) Act, 2023.

This decision effectively abolishes the 65% reservation quota previously allocated for Backward Classes, Economically Backward Classes (EBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs), and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the state.

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The court declared these amendments as ultra vires and in violation of the equality clauses enshrined in Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Indian Constitution.

Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Harish Kumar delivered a judgment on a series of petitions challenging the 2023 amendments made by the Bihar legislature regarding reservations.

The Bihar government, under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, decided to increase reservations for Backward Classes, Extremely Backward Classes (EBC), Scheduled Castes (SC), and Scheduled Tribes (ST). On November 9, the Bihar Assembly unanimously passed a bill to raise these reservations from the existing 50% to 65%.

With the inclusion of the 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS), the total reservation in Bihar now stands at 75%, exceeding the 50% cap set by the Supreme Court.

The Bihar Reservation Amendment Bill raised the quota for Extremely Backward Classes (EBC) from 18% to 25%, for Backward Classes (BC) from 12% to 18%, for Scheduled Castes (SC) from 16% to 20%, and for Scheduled Tribes (ST) from 1% to 2%.

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A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed, arguing that the constitutional provisions for reservations are meant to ensure proper representation of socially and educationally backward classes, not to provide reservations proportional to the population. The PIL contended that the amendments violated fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, including the right to equal opportunity in government jobs and protection against discrimination.

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