The Gujarat High Court today reserved its order on four petitions challenging the state government’s ordinance providing 10 per cent reservation to members of the economically weaker sections from unreserved category.
The order was reserved by a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi after concluding the hearing.
Petitioners Dayaram Verma, Ravjibhai Manani, Dulari Basarge and Gujarat Parents’ Association had separately challenged the May 1 ordinance announcing reservation of ten per cent seats to candidates belonging to the unreserved category with family income cap of Rs 6 lakh annually in government jobs and educational institutions.
Their petitions were heard together after the court clubbed them.
The petitioners submitted that the reservation violates the Supreme Court’s order providing 50 per cent ceiling for reservation as per the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India case.
They said that additional 10 per cent reservation further reduced the number of seats in educational institutions for candidates from unreserved category with annual family income of more than Rs 6 lakh.
They said the provision violates the Constitution as Article 46, which is about the directive principles of state policy, does not allow quota beyond the 50 per cent cap.
The government pleader contended that the reservation is actually “a further classification in the general, open, unreserved category” and does not violate either the Supreme Court order or constitutional provisions.
The state government, in its affidavit before the HC, said the ordinance does not violate provisions of the Constitution nor does it go against the Supreme Court orders.
“The ordinance should be read with Article 46 of the Constitution (which states that social justice is required for weaker sections of the society) and not with reference to Backward Class quota,” the affidavit said.
On May 1, the state government had issued the ordinance providing 10 per cent reservation to persons from EWS from unreserved category other than the SC, ST and SEBC for admissions in the educational institutions and government jobs.
The reservation is applicable to persons with annual family income cap of Rs 6 lakh.