Supreme Court on Monday deferred the hearing on Rajasthan government’s Gujjar resevation issue by two weeks. The Rajashthan High Court had in December struck down a 2015 law which provided five per cent reservation to Special Backward Classes, including Gujjars. The state government had in February filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s judgment. The apex court also accepted the government’s request to protect around 4,000 already appointed and thousands of people admitted to the SBC community. After the High Court ruling, the Gujjar community representatives, who have led violent agitations on the issue since 2007, are demanding five per cent sub-quota within the OBC quota, a PTI report said.
The demand for the sub-quota has been made to ensure that the entire reservation ratio does not cross the apex court’s 50 per cent cap, because of which the High Court had struck down the 2015 Act. The state government had assured Gujjars that their rights would be protected and sought time from the community representatives to explore legal options. The High Court had given six weeks’ time to the government to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court. Later, the Rajasthan Government appointed a committee in wake of the decision.
Meanwhile in February, the Gujjar community leaders held talks with the state government and once again demanded SBC quota. On November 28, 2012, the Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan Cabinet had decided to provide a separate five per cent quota to the SBCs. The new quota was in addition to the 21 per cent reservation available to Other Backward Classes and taking the overall reservation in jobs and education to 54 per cent. Since 2007, the state has witnessed violent agitation by Gujjars when the community members blocked national highways and railway tracks and were fired upon by the police.