The members of Gujjar and four other communities had called off their eight-day agitation, blocking railways tracks and highways in Rajasthan, on February 16, after getting a written assurance from the state government that it will stand by them if the bill faces legal hurdles.
The Supreme Court Friday refused to entertain a plea challenging the grant of 5 per cent quota to Gujjars and four other castes in jobs and educational institutions in Rajasthan through a law amendment in February. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the appeal filed by one Arvind Sharma against an order of the Rajsthan High Court refusing to grant an interim relief on the petition challenging the quota to Gujjars and others, treating them as socially and economically backward classes. It was argued that the reservation would breach the 50 per cent ceiling on total quantum of quota.
“The plea for relief is already pending in high court, therefore, we are not inclined to entertain it,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna. The Rajasthan Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by the Rajasthan Assembly on February 13. The Bill passed by the newly formed Congress government in the state provides 5 per cent quota in government jobs and educational institutes to the Gujjars and four other communities — Banjaras, Gadia Lohars, Raikas and Gadarias. The Congress government had passed the bill amid protests in the state led by Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla for reservation for the community.
A petition, filed in the Rajasthan High Court, by Arvind Sharma and Badal Verma, had challenged the reservation alleging that it was beyond the ordinary upper limit of 50 per cent and was already denied by the Rajasthan High Court. It alleged that the five communities were granted reservation based on the proportionality of their population and not on “backwardness in education” or “public employment”. The plea had also alleged that the actual reason behind granting reservation to Gujjars and the other communities was the agitation, which took the “entire state to ransom”. The members of Gujjar and four other communities had called off their eight-day agitation, blocking railways tracks and highways in Rajasthan, on February 16, after getting a written assurance from the state government that it will stand by them if the bill faces legal hurdles.