Chhattisgarh HC stays state govt’s move to increase OBC quota

The Indian Express: 05.10.2019

The High Court of Chhattisgarh on Friday stayed the state government’s decision to increase the OBC reservation in the state from 14 per cent to 27 per cent. The order, issued by a division bench of Chief Justice P R Ramachandra Menon and Justice Parth Prateem Sahu, came after several petitions were filed against the government’s move to increase reservation for OBCs, SCs and STs.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel acknowledged the stay order, but said his government would put their side strongly before the High Court.

In August, Chief Minister Baghel announced an increase of a total of 14 per cent reservation in the state. While the reservation for STs remained at 32 per cent, the reservation for SCs went up from 12 to 13 per cent. The reservation for OBCs jumped from 14 to 27 per cent.

Soon after, the state government notified the Centre’s decision to implement 10 per cent reservation for economically backward sections of the general category. This took the total reservation in Chhattisgarh to 82 per cent, higher than in any other state in the country.

Several petitions against this were filed in the high court, citing the Supreme Court judgment in the Indira Sawhney case. The petitions also argued that the basis for these decisions was data from NSSO, BPL and RBI survey reports and not the official Census and claimed that the reservation for OBCs had been increased on the basis of insufficient data.

The state government argued that other states have also increased reservation and said the increase in OBC reservation is proportionate to their population which is more than 45 per cent in the state.

The division bench finished hearing both sides on October 1 and had reserved the judgment.

Chief Minister Baghel on Friday told reporters that the court had stayed only part of the reservation and had accepted the quota for SCs and Economically Weaker Sections in general category. “For the OBCs, we will fight and put our case strongly before the high court,” he said.