In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed the government's decision to include Jats in the list of Other Backward Classes (OBC) category in nine states (Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarrakhand, Uttar Pradesh and the National capital territory of Delhi) to grant them reservation benefits.
The SC said that caste, though a prominent factor can't be the sole factor to decide backwardness.
Reservation has always been a key demand of the Jat community. But it accelerated and turned into a mass movement after All-India Jat Mahasabha convention of 2007 which was attended by several prominent Jat leaders.
Here are few of the developments related to Jat reservation:
1998: During the rule of Inder Kumar Gujral, National Commission for Backward Castes (NCBC) recommended inclusion of Jats in OBC category. However, Gujral government did not act on the recommendations.
August 1999: Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee promised backward class status to the Jats of Rajasthan, thus granting them reservation under OBC category. The promise paid off and BJP bagged 16 out of 25 seats in the state. This was the start of politicisation of the Jat reservation.
October 1999: Vajpayee government delivered on its promise and included Jats of Rajasthan (with the exception of two districts- Bharatpur and Dhaulpur) in OBC category. After this, Jats of other states also started making demands of reservation.
2004: During the run up to the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, promises of reservation for Jats once again were made by political parties. After the elections, when the demands of reservation were not met, small agitations and protests started.
March 2007: The All-India Jat Mahasabha convention, held at Talkatora Stadium in Delhi on 9 March 2007 under the chairmanship of its president, Chaudhary Dara Singh, raised the voice of Jat reservation loudly. This time, the demand was more important as the convention was attended by several Central and State Ministers and MPs.
2008: Chaudhary Yashpal Malik floated Akhil Bhartiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (ABJASS), an organization to fight for the demand of Jat reservation. Since its inception, the outfit has organized many protests and rallies, often resulting in clash with the police.
2008-2014: During these years all the states with substantial Jat population, started protests and agitation in large numbers. Trains were halted, bandh were organized, and public properties were burnt when there demands were not met.
March 2014: A day before notification for national election was issued, the Congress led UPA government approved reservation for the Jat community. The Congress hoped to get Jats' support in the elections. National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) recommended against it.
April 2014: in response to a PIL filed against OBC status provided to Jats, the Supreme Court refused to stop centre from granting quota to them.
August 2014: the new NDA government supported the erstwhile UPA government's decision of granting OBC quota to Jats. Just before the Haryana elections, Modi government justified the UPA's decision in told Supreme Court.
March 17 2015: Heeding to the NCBC's report, the Supreme Court quashed the Centre's decision to include Jats in OBC.