The Narendra Modi government today supported UPA regime's decision to include the Jat community in the Central OBC list for providing reservation and refuted the allegation in the Supreme Court that it was done to gain political mileage in the general elections. In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the NDA government contended that Centre had acted bonafide and in public interest after considering the ground realities.
"As regards averments that the central government with a motive to gain benefit for the ruling parties in the forthcoming general election issued the said notification, this fact is denied as unfounded. It is respectfully submitted that the central government has acted bonafide and in public interest," the 28-page affidavit said. The Centre contended that the Cabinet took into account the findings of a report of Expert Committee constituted by Indian Council for Social Science and Research (ICSSR) before taking the decision.
It said that government rejected the view of National Commission for Backward Classes and took the decision on the basis of findings of the expert committee. Centre also said that nine states have already included Jats in their lists of OBCs. "Cabinet was of the view that the Commission has not adequately taken into account the ground realities and therefore decided not to accept the advice tendered by the Commission and decided to include Jat community in the Central List of OBCs for the nine states namely Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan(Bharatpur and Dhaulpur), Uttarakhand, UP and Delhi," it said.
The apex court had on April 9 rejected a plea to stay Centre's poll-eve notification to include the Jat community. The affidavit was filed in compliance of apex court's order issuing notice to Centre on a PIL filed by OBC Reservation Raksha Samiti - an organisation of members of Communities which are included in the Central List of Backward Classes. It alleged that the March 4 notification was issued a day before the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force and it was done by the party in power to garner votes. The Centre had placed before the apex court all materials/ documents and files, including the decision of the Union Cabinet, on the issue of considering the inclusion of Jats in the OBC list.
On April 1, the apex court had asked the Centre why it allegedly ignored the advice of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) to keep the Jat community away from reservation benefits. The court had also said that the matter is "serious" and had directed the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to place before it all the material, records and files pertaining to the decision, to see "whether there was application of mind or not" while issuing the March 4 notification.
Besides the organisation, three other individuals from Delhi - Ram Singh, Ashok Kumar and Ashok Yadav - belonging to OBC category have also challenged the Centre's notification.
They submitted that people of Jat community have performed much better than those of other castes and the number of those who have been selected in the prestigious civil services exam of UPSC is much higher than the number proportionate to their population.
They have sought a direction holding that Jat community is not a backward class and not entitled to be included in the list of OBC and annexed findings of the NCBC which in its February 26, 2014 report had rejected the Centre's request for recommending inclusion of Jat community in the central list of backward classes.