Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday wrote to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, seeking reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in state government jobs and educational institutions.
He also requested Patnaik to grant reservation to Socially Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) in educational institutions in Odisha.
"Following the resolution of the Maharashtra Assembly, your Cabinet has recently passed a resolution for simultaneous enumeration of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes and Castes alongside the upcoming general census in 2021," Pradhan wrote.
"This move comes across as a dilatory and dichotomous step trying to mask the extant policies of the state government denying state-wide reservation for OBC and SEBC categories. This stance is evident from the non-appointment of a Backward Class Commission by the State Government to look into the issue," he added.
Pradhan further stressed on the need for reservation for the OBCs/SEBCs in the state.
"At the cost of reiteration, let me emphasize that the OBCs/SEBCs constitute a considerable portion of the total population in Odisha. There are more than 209 communities identified as SEBCs in the State which are traditionally deprived of resources - many of them suffering the twin curse of poverty and illiteracy," he wrote.
"In this context, I would like to draw your attention to Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of Constitution under which Central Government has provided 27 per cent reservation to OBCs in government jobs as well as in educational institutions - a welfare measure upheld by the Honourable Supreme Court. However, even nearly thirty years after implementation of said reservations, it is difficult to decipher why Government of Odisha is not providing any such reservations to OBCs in public employment or in educational institutions and to SEBCs in educational institutions," he added.
Pradhan backed his request for reservation for the said categories by citing reservation granted by other states, in particular referring to Tamil Nadu which has 50 per cent reservation for Backward Classes out of a total of 69 per cent.
He cited a Supreme Court judgment in favour of exceeding reservation.
"I would like to draw your attention to a few points. The Honourable Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India & Others case has stipulated that on extraordinary grounds which need to be specifically made out, the percentage of reservations may be exceeded," he wrote.
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