ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Abuse of Power

The Supreme Court rightly nullifi es the abuse of executive power in expanding the reservation list.

The Supreme Court, in a ruling on 17 March, set aside the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s notification including Jats in the central list of Other Backward Classes (OBC). The government’s March 2014 notification was a last-minute attempt by the UPA to attract the Jat vote of North India ahead of the May 2014 Lok Sabha elections. That did not bring the UPA any electoral benefit. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, however, defended the notification in Court.

The Jat caste was already in the state list of OBCs in a number of states in North India. But the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) had as far back as 1997 rejected demands to include Jats in the national OBC list. In a cynical attempt at electoral mobilisation, the UPA government first pressed the NCBC to re-examine its 1997 decision. When the re-examination did not yield the recommendation the UPA government wanted, the union cabinet accorded Jats the benefits of reservation claiming that “ground realities” justified such a decision. It was common knowledge at the time that in actual fact it was a decision taken to please the Rashtriya Lok Dal and its chief Ajit Singh, who was at the time a member of the union cabinet and whose support was seen as critical for “delivering” Western ­Uttar Pradesh which has a large Jat population.

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