Reservation for economically weaker: Gujarat govt challenges High Court ‘strike-down’

Gujarat government has challenged the decision of the Gujarat High Court which had struck down an Ordinance that provided for 10% reservation for those belonging to economically weaker sections in unreserved categories.

The appeal was filed today and is likely to be listed next week.

The government in its petition has contended that the ordinance is not “reservation” but only a reasonable classification.

On August 4, a Bench of Justices Subhash Reddy and Vibhul M Pancholi had struck down the Gujarat Unreserved Economically Weaker Sections (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in services under the State) Ordinance, 2016. It had held that the Ordinance is unconstitutional and contrary to fundamental rights guaranteed to the petitioners under Articles 13(2), 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India.

The case was an outcome of the Patidar agitations that began last year, agitations that saw twenty-three year old Hardik Patel thrown into the national limelight.

In April this year, a High Powered Committee was formed, led by Minister Nitin Patel. One of the demands placed before the Committee was the inclusion of Patidars in the OBC category.

In the end, the Committee recommended the introduction of a 10% reservation for those from economically weaker sections; however this reservation would be applicable to the unreserved category alone. This reservation would be applicable to seats in educational institutions, and in state appointments. On May 1, the state government had passed an Ordinance to this effect.

This was challenged before the High Court which had held it unconstitutional.

The case saw a number of big names appear, including the state’s Advocate General Kamal B Trivedi, AAG PK Jani, senior counsel Shalin MehtaSN Shelat, Mihir ThakoreAmit PanchalVD Nanavati and Shivani Rajpurohit.

However, the High Court had granted a stay of two weeks on this judgment, and as expected, matter has come in appeal to the Supreme Court.