In the backdrop of violence across the state during the Patel community’s agitation for reservation, a PIL in the Gujarat High Court today said that before any decision is taken, the government must collect caste data.
Without naming the Patels, petitioner Mustak Kadri says that a certain community is agitating for inclusion in OBCs and it has caused “complete disorder and lawlessness”, so the state government must take a swift action to ensure peace.
Citing judgements of the Supreme Court and other High Courts, the PIL says that inclusion or exclusion in the reserved category can be done “only with the help of quantifiable data” and such data is not available for the last 50 years because the census reports provide caste-wise figures only till 1931.
Further, while introducing a quota, the state must show that such data reflects backwardness and inadequacy of representation of that community in employment.
Therefore, the HC should ensure that the government does not take any decision without following due procedure laid out by the Supreme Court about the collection of data, it says.
Ten people were killed in the Patel community’s agitation last week. Public and private property worth crores of rupees was damaged.
The PIL seeks a direction to the government to initiate the process of collecting caste data through an independent backward classes commission.
It also wants the government to identify individuals and organisations responsible for causing damage to the public property and take action against them.