LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court has extended the restriction on issuing scheduled caste (SC) certificates to 18 castes that fall under the OBC category at present. The state government has not filed its reply even after five years of the court’s directive to it to present its side in a petition seeking the inclusion of 18 castes in the SC category.
The petition was filed in the High Court during the reign of the Samajwadi Party (SP) in January, 2017. The High Court had given a last chance to the state government to file its reply on the last hearing.
However, the state government claimed that it was confabulating over the issue. The state government also said that the state cabinet would again hold a discussion over it.
The matter is being heard by a division bench comprising Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice JJ Munir.
Prior to this, the High Court had put a ban on the issuance of the SC certificates to 18 OBC castes on January 24, 2017. The court had passed the order putting the restriction while conducting a hearing on a petition filed by Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Library and Public Welfare Committee of Gorakhpur.
The then Akhilesh Yadav government issued a notification on December 22, 2016, which provided for the inclusion of 18 OBC castes in the SC category. This was followed by another such notification by the Yogi government on June 24, 2019 but the High Court intervened and put a restriction on the process also.
In 2019, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot had also expressed disagreement with state government’s notification saying the decision was not in accordance with the Constitution.
In fact, the issue is not new to UP. The SP government led by Mulayam Singh Yadav had issued a similar order back in 2005. The order had been, however, stayed by the Allahabad High Court. Two years later, the Mayawati government quashed the order, but subsequently wrote to the central government extending her support for it.
The petitioner in his plea contended that the right to include the OBC castes in SC category rested only with the Indian Parliament and not the state governments. On the basis of this argument, the High Court had stayed the government process of issuing certificates.
The castes, which the respective SP and Yogi governments intended to include in the SC category included, Majhwar, Kahar, Kashyap, Kevat, Mallah, Nishad, Kumhar, Prajapati, Dheevar, Bind, Bhar, Rajbhar, Dhiman, Batham, Turha, Godia, Manjhi and Machchhua.
The court has posted the next hearing for July first week.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)