The Supreme Court on Monday said the stay of Gujarat High Court verdict quashing 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) will continue but no admission or appointment would take place on the basis of the quota that was carved out in the wake of Patel agitation in the state.
While directing the hearing of Gujarat’s appeal against the high court order on August 29, a bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said the August 4 stay order would continue along with the undertaking that no admissions would be made on the basis of 10 per cent reservation.
The Gujarat High Court, while staying its own judgement to enable the state government approach the apex court challenging it, had recorded an undertaking by the Gujarat government that no admissions would be made on the basis of 10 per cent reservations.
At the outset of the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the Supreme Court bench that Gujarat government was challenging the August 4 high court verdict quashing May 1, 2016 ordinance providing for reservation for economically weaker sections amongst upper castes in the state both in education and employment.
As Rohatgi told the court that the high court itself had stayed the operation of its own verdict, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium said that the stay was for two weeks which came to an end on August 17.
The high court had stayed the operation of its own judgement as Gujarat government had sought two-weeks time to approach the Supreme Court.
Telling the apex court that the judgement quashing the 10 per cent reservation was no more on hold, Subramanium said that the August 4 stay was subject to undertaking by the state government that it would not make any admissions or appointments under the ategory.
Subramanium appeared for some general category candidates.
At this both the Attorney General and Subramanium suggested that the stay order can be continued coupled with the undertaking given by Gujarat government to the high court that 10 per cent reservation would not be acted upon.
While holding it “unconstitutional” and “illegal”, the high court had quashed 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.
Assailing the high court judgement quashing 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker section excluding those covered under the SC/ST and the OBC reservation, Gujarat government has contended that it was not a reservation but a “further classification in the General / Open / Unreserved category of citizens of the state”.
It further contended that mere use of word “reservation” in May 1 ordinance does not make it same as one contemplated under Article 15 (4) and Article 16 (4).
Article 15 (4) and Article 16 (4) provides for reservation for SC/ST and the OBCs respectively.
Article 15 (4) says: “Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.”
Article 16 (4) says: “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.”
Gujarat government said that the ordinance earmarking 12 per cent reservation under the EWS of society was a part of the continuous exercise by the state to reach out to more deserving sections of the population and it could not shut its eyes to the instances of weakness, including economic weakness, amongst people that was sought to addressed by May 1 ordinance.