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The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday kept in abeyance till March next year the implementation of a Haryana law providing reservation to Jats and five other communities. It also directed the State Backward Classes Commission to determine the quota in government jobs and education institutions to be given to these communities after studying relevant data and submit a report by March 2018. A division bench comprising Justices Surinder Singh Saron and Lisa Gill also directed the Commission to collect quantifiable data till November 30 and upload it on its website to invite objections. The petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act, 2016 providing reservation to Jat and five other communities under the newly-created backward classes (C) category, had been filed before the court last year. The Act was passed unanimously by the state assembly on March 29, 2016 and was notified in the official gazette on May 12, 2016 by the state government. The new act provided reservation under BC (C) category to Jats, Jat Sikh, Mulla Jat/Muslim Jat, Bishnoi, Ror and Tyagi. On May 26, 2016, a division bench of the HC had stayed the reservation to these communities after hearing the public interest litigation. "The reservation granted under Schedule 3 shall remain in abeyance till then (March 2018) and the stay on it will remain," Haryana's additional advocate general Lokesh Sinhal told reporters outside the court on Friday. "As far as extent of reservation or what percentage of reservation is to be granted, the HC sent the matter back to the Backward Classes Commission and asked it to file its report by March 2018," he said. The high court division bench said the extent of reservation will be determined by the State Backward Classes Commission on the basis of data submitted either by the state government or collected by the Commission on its own, according to Ainhal. The state government has been directed to place such data before the Commission by November 30 this year and the data so collected by the Commission as well as on its own be uploaded on the website of the Commission, Sinhal, who also represented the state before the court, said. Thereafter, the Commission shall invite objections from general public, which are to be submitted to the Commission before December 31, 2017, the court directed. On the basis of data so collected or produced before the Commission and keeping in view objections filed before it, the Commission shall determine how much percentage of reservation is to be granted.
This is to be decided by March 31, 2018, Sinhal said.All these six communities were entitled to get 10 per cent reservation in government services and admission in educational institutions. The petition filed by Murari Lal Gupta, a resident of Bhiwani district, against the Act, contended that it was in violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney case. According to the petitioner, with the passing of the new bill, the reservation reached around 70 per cent, but according to the law laid down by the apex court, the limit cannot exceed beyond 50 per cent. At least 30 people had died and property worth hundreds of crores of rupees was also damaged in arson during the Jat reservation agitation that left the state paralysed for nearly two weeks in February last year.
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