High Court issues notices to Guj govt on permanent backward class panel plea
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The Gujarat High Court issued notices today to the state government and the OBC Commission on a public interest litigation seeking constitution of a permanent commission for backward classes through a legislative Act.
A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi has sought the response of the state government, Department of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Gujarat Other Backward Class Commission on September 29.
The PIL, filed by representatives of the Patidar community, requested the high court to issue directives to the Gujarat government on setting up a permanent commission to examine various requests pertaining to inclusion and exclusion of castes under the OBC list.
The petitioners are: Umiya Parivaar Visnagar, a Patidar organisation, Ishwar Patel and Purvin Patel.
The Patidar community has been demanding quota in jobs and education under the OBC category.
The PIL stated that since the existing OBC Commission is constituted by an executive fiat, it does not operate as per the mandate of the reservation policy.
The petitioners' counsel Vishal Dave argued that the state government had failed to set up the permanent commission despite the Supreme Court's order to this effect 28 years ago.
"In view of the guidelines issued by the apex court in the case of Indra Sawhney, it is imperative for the state government to constitute a permanent state commission for backward classes by enacting a legislation, which is long due in pursuance to the mandate in the Sawhney case, for the last 28 years," the PIL stated.
While the Social Welfare Department had set up a permanent body -- the Other Backward Class Commission -- in March 1993 on the guidelines of the SC, the "continuation of the commission constituted through an executive fiat is illegal," it said.
According to the petitioners, the state government had in 1994 included 39 castes in the OBC category through a circular "without any survey or recommendations of the OBC Commission".
"The need for appointing such a commission is all the more apparent again since the Supreme Court had, in recent judgements, emphasised the need for a quantifiable data which is updated, before deciding on inclusion and exclusion (of castes) in the list of socially and economically backward classes of people," it stated.
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