Sub-classification of STs 11% quota challenged, HC issues notice to Govt

TNN Bureau. Updated: 7/20/2019 11:52:04 AM Front Page

JAMMU: In a major development, the State High Court on Friday issued notices to Secretary Law, Secretary Social Welfare and J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE), in plea challenging the Rule 13 of the J&K Reservation Rules which according to it unconstitutionally does sub classification within the ST category allegedly on communal grounds.
The said rule of the J&K Reservation Rules sub-classifies the quota of 11 percent reservation earmarked for Scheduled Tribes into three--9% for Muslim STs, 1% for Buddhist STs and 1% for nearly 7 Hindu STs.
“Constitution of India contemplates ST as a one unit, a monolith and creating further classes within a class for the purposes of Reservation is constitutionally blasphemous,” said the plea submitted by Nikhal Pakhru and other NEET aspirants who belong to Gaddi and Sippi (Hindu Scheduled Tribes)
“Such a sub classification is hit by Article 14 of the constitution as it creates a class within the class. The Rule 13 is a class legislation contemplated by the JK Government purely on communal grounds and is hence unconstitutional,” the counsel for petitioners argued.
The petitioners challenged the Rule 13 of the J&K Reservation Rules, 2005 on the ground that the method and manner of prescribing percentage of reservation amongst Gujjars and Bakerwals, residents of District Leh & Kargil etc is illegal and ultravires the constitution, inasmuch as, there cannot be any sub-classification of categorization for purposes of reservation under the ST category, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur observed and issued notices to Secretary Law, Secretary Social Welfare and J&K BOPEE.
However, the court refused to grant of any interim relief to the petitioner who secured 380 points in the NEET examination as against other candidates securing 378 and 241 marks, seeking reservation of atleast one seat for him.
“Any interim relief at this stage in favour of the petitioners cannot be granted for simple reason that the petitioners ought to have approached this Court well in time to question the vires of Rule 13.
“It is not out of place to mention here that Rule 13 of the Reservation Rules was framed as early as in 2005 and the process of selection in BDS/MBBS course was initiated on 11 July 2019. According to the scheduled issued by the Medical Council of India, the process of admission has to come to an end by 31 August 2019. Any order restraining the official respondents from filling one seat under the ST category would have the effect of making the said one seat go waste, inasmuch as, considering the issues involved, the matter cannot be decided within the said period,” the court ruled.

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