Cuttack: The Orissa High Court today upheld the decision of the Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT) quashing the Odisha Reservation of Posts and Services (for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes) Act, 2008 providing reservation of 27 percent for socially and educationally backward classes.
The legality of the Act was challenged in the OAT on the grounds that it was contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court that caste based reservation for public employment cannot exceed 50 percent.
The OAT after conducting a hearing on the petition in its order dated December 12, 2013, had quashed the Act.
However, OAT’s order was challenged by the state government in the High Court.
The High Court while upholding the order of OAT has quashed the Act.
While the Union government has limited its reservation to 49 percent, the state government’s reservation in total amounted to 65.75 percent.
“In the SEBC Act, 27 percent reservation was fixed for SEBC. That has been quashed by the High Court. The reason being by reserving 27 percent for SEBC, the total reservation went up to 65.75 percent which as per the judgment of the Supreme Court should not exceed 50 percent. The state government can bring a new Act confining the sum total of reservations to 50 percent. It all depends the state government; it can even move the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s order,” said Manoj Khuntia, a High Court lawyer commenting on the court’s order.
It may be recalled here that the state government as an interim measure vide a notification in the form of a resolution issued by the ST and SC Development Department on June 24, 2014 had slashed the ratio of reservation for the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) category from 27 per cent to 11.25 per cent.
“In case of direct recruitment to the posts and services, there shall be reservation of posts and service in favour of SEBC to extent of 11.25 per cent as an interim measures, till the adjudication of the process reaches its final conclusion,” the resolution said.