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Patna HC strikes down law which raised reservation to 65 per cent in big jolt to Nitish Kumar

The Patna High Court has struck down Bihar government laws increasing reservations for Backward Classes, Extremely Backward Classes (EBC), Scheduled Castes (SC), and Scheduled Tribes (ST) from 50% to 65%.

Reported By : Nitish Chandra Edited By : Nitin Kumar
Patna
Updated on: June 20, 2024 11:58 IST
Patna
Image Source : FILE PHOTO Patna High Court building.

The Patna High Court has invalidated Bihar government laws that aimed to increase reservations for SC, ST, EBC, and other backward classes to 65% in educational institutions and government jobs. The court ruled The Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (Amendment) Act, 2023, and The Bihar (In Admission in Educational Institutions) Reservation (Amendment) Act, 2023 as unconstitutional, violating Articles 14, 15, and 16. The decision follows petitions challenging these amendments, arguing they exceeded the 50% reservation cap mandated by the Supreme Court.

Legal challenge and judicial verdict

Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Harish Kumar delivered the verdict on petitions filed by Gaurav Kumar and others, which were heard on March 11, 2024.

State government's argument

Bihar's Advocate General P.K. Shahi argued that the increased reservations were necessary due to inadequate representation of these groups, justifying the legislative action. He clarified that the reservations were not based on proportional population allocation.

Legislative background and controversy

The Bihar Assembly passed these laws on November 9, 2023, aiming to increase reservations for SC, ST, EBC, and other backward classes, while limiting general category seats to 35%.

Legal perspectives and future implications

Advocate Deenu Kumar, representing the petitioners, contended that the laws violated constitutional provisions by exceeding the 50% reservation limit and not ensuring adequate representation based on socio-economic surveys.

Supreme Court precedent and pending cases

The issue of reservation limits had been previously adjudicated by the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney case, setting a 50% cap. The matter regarding socio-economic surveys for reservation is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

Impact and further proceedings

The High Court's decision is likely to have significant implications on reservation policies in Bihar, potentially prompting further legal challenges and appeals.

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