High Court quashes 5% reservation, beyond the ceiling of 50% to Gujjars and four other castes on reservation in services

Rajasthan-High-Court

High Court of Rajasthan: Amidst the clamour surrounding the issue of reservation of Gujjars, the Bench comprising of MN Bhandari and JK Ranga , JJ., while examining the issue where a challenge is made to the Notification dated 16th October, 2015 issued by the State Government and Rajasthan Special Backward Classes Act, 2015, upheld the challenge against the report submitted by the Other Backward Classes commission recommending 5% reservation, exceeding the ceiling of 50 per cent under the Constitution mandate , to Gujjars and four other caste under the category of Special Backward Classes for appointment in public services and admission in the educational institutions.

The petitioner has moved to the court since the notification and Act of 2015 are against Article 16(4B) of the Constitution as the State Government cannot reserve vacancies of a year beyond 50% and if the Act of 2015 is given effect to, reservation would be beyond the ceiling of 50 per cent i.e. against the vacancies of a year. The petitioner further contends that there exist discrepancies in the report of SBC Commission as 82 castes were identified for consideration and the recommendation has been made only to the extent of 5 castes hence the report of SBC Commission, so as the notification and Act of 2015 should be rejected and set aside .

However, the  respondents urged about the limited scope of judicial review in case of a report being prepared by an expert body therefore, such a report cannot be examined by the court until and unless the report reflects a perverse or impossible view and not merely on the basis of insufficiency of data. Further, the respondent contended that the ceiling of reservation beyond 50 % is upheld by the court in various landmark judgments hence the argument of  the petitioners about ceiling of 50 per cent on reservation in services is not tenable.

The Court while relying on plethora of judgments observed that since the 5 castes now brought under the category of Special Backward Classes were already getting the benefits of reservation for many past years hence the report submitted by the SBC Commission shows no extraordinary reasons because of which the State Government should create a new category in favor of five castes. The Court further quashed the report of SBC Commission to be infructuous as it was not made in the manner required and otherwise directed by the Supreme Court in various judgments. The Court also stuck down the notification and the Act of 2015 in referring to Article 16(4B) of the Constitution of India and the judgments of the Apex Court stating that the ceiling of 50% on reservation on the vacancies of the year, in which they are to be filled, exists and the exception is for the backlog or unfilled post/s of previous year/years. The Court upholding the power of judicial review of the court in case of a report being prepared by an expert body held that since the data in the report has not been collected to the extent it was required thereby being perverse hence the report is open for judicial examination. [Captain Gurvinder  Singh v. State of  Rajasthan,  Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1645/2016, decided on 9th December, 2016]

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