Panel for Backward Classes rebuts govt claim that quota decision was based on its advice

NEW DELHI : The Union Cabinet’s decision on Sunday to grant reservation in central jobs and educational institutions to the Jat community of nine states by including it in the Central list of OBCs, has run into controversy.

In a strong rebuttal, the statutory National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) has rubbished the government’s claim that its decision was based on the advice of the commission it had approached through a Cabinet decision on December 19.

The NCBC has put its 138-page report on its website > to clarify that it did not advice any such reservation and in fact “rejected” the Jats’’ case “as they are not socially and educationally backward communities.”

No surprise if someone goes to court with the NCBC report coming in the public domain to scuttle the Jat reservation to torpedo the ruling Congress plan of the poll advantage, demanding to hold it back apropos the commission’s own decision in June 2011, as incorporated in the report, to await the finalisation of the socio-economic caste census ordered by the government in 2011 and which was being conducted by the Registrar General of India all over the country to enumerate the caste-wise population.

The government clearly took the decision to woo the Jat voters who matter in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and some other states, influencing the results in some 70 Lok Sabha constituencies.

The BJP sounded nonchalant about the government’s deft political move, but the party managers are worried that it will upset their plans in at least 30 seats — 10 in Haryana, 14 in western Uttar Pradesh and six in Rajasthan.

Another controversy was raked up in Punjab by its former Congress chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh accused the Akali Dal-BJP government for its failure to take up the issue of the Punjabi Jats as they are not included in the latest central list of the OBCs. Amarinder is president of the All-India Jat Mahasabha.

In its unanimous advice rendered on February 26, the NCBC headed by Justice Vangala Eswaraiah, a former acting chief justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court, held it has no doubt that Jats as a class cannot be treated as a backward class. Other commission members, who too were unanimous, on the advice are S K Kharventhan, A K Saini and A K Mangotra.

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