Rajasthan high court’s decision came as another setback to Raje government on Thursday. The long-lasting Gurjar-vs-Judiciary tussle ended in the HC rejecting Rajasthan government’s application for a stay on its last judgement. The High Court, on December 9 had scrapped 5% reservation for the SBC (Special Backward Classes) including the Gujjars.
Why Did HC Strike Down Rajasthan Gurjar Quota?
Retired Captain Gurvinder Singh from Santa Aandolan Samiti filed a court case saying that more than 50% reservation granted to a particular group was not just unconstitutional but illegal too. As per reformations made under the SBC Reservation Act of 2015, the total reservation allotted to the Gurjars reached 54%. This would create social unrest in other communities. Therefore, the Court directed Raje government to withdraw extra reservation granted to the SBC category.
Following the HC’s decision, Raje government requested a 4-week stay on the court’s order so that they could file a PIL in the Supreme Court. However, the HC reduced to grant stay in SBC quota that disappointed Raje government. The bigger question was what would happen to employees that were appointed in government jobs under the SBC quota before December 9. In this regard, the state government allowed these candidates to continue with their jobs for next 6 weeks until the state government approaches the apex court for relief.
What are the Future Implications of this Order?
The HC’s order is likely to create social unrest in Rajasthan. Since caste is a detrimental factor in elections, Raje government will have to settle this issue before the upcoming 2018 Rajasthan state assembly elections. The CM is determined to approach the SC to get the extra 5% share for Gurjars, as demanded by the community heads.
“The quota was a unanimous decision of the state assembly. We will defend it and do everything to implement it.”, she said.
Even though notorious elements like Kirori Singh Bainsla accuse the Raje government for their ‘negligence’, they can’t deny that the CM had always extended her support to all 36 social communities including the Gurjars. It’s evident from the fact that Raje had appointed Hem Singh Bhadana (a Gujjar leader) in the Rajasthan cabinet for better representation of this community.
Two years back, when Raje government initiated her ambitious scheme ‘Sarkaar Aapke Dwaar’, she stopped by to have lunch at Raghunathi’s hut in Sawai Madhopur. Seeing that the entire neighbourhood cooks meals on traditional earthen ovens, the CM granted them a gas connection under the Centre’s scheme.
The CM doesn’t believe in using ‘reservations’ to create a strong vote-bank for her party. Since last three years, she has been pushing for reforms and focusing on the basic necessities of the Gurjar community like shelters, education, employment and connectivity to uplift their status in the society. Raje’s ‘Devnarayan Scheme’ was an innovative step in this direction. The CM offered scholarships, two-wheelers, enrollment in educational institutions and employment to the Gurjars. She also constructed dispensaries, hospitals, roads, educational institutes, hostels and water facilities in order to connect remote rural villages with the urban areas. She firmly believes this approach will help eliminate backwardness from the society.
In the light of the HC’s recent judgement, the government is now left with just two options– either file a PIL in the Supreme Court or run parallel schemes like Devnarayan to uplift the status of SBC in the society.
“I’m keeping these initiatives low profile so that everyone takes notice of the results achieved and not of token publicity”, she said. As of now, the Gurjars are siding with the government. The entire community has their faith vested in Raje government’s approach. Hopefully, this will prevent any social unrests unlike what happened in the past.