Calcutta HC cancels OBC certificates issued in Bengal since 2010, Mamata rejects

Wednesday 29th May 2024 07:42 EDT

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court cancelled all Other Backward Class (OBC) certificates issued by the West Bengal government since 2010. Hours later, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she will not accept the order, and OBC reservation will continue in the state.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation challenging provisions of the West Bengal Backward Classes (Other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) (Reservation of Vacancies in Services and Posts) Act, 2012.

Setting aside the classification of 37 communities as OBC, the Bench said, “We strike down section 16 of the Act of 2012 since it empowers the State Executive to amend any schedule of the Act of 2012. Consequently, the 37 classes included under exercise of section 16 are struck out of schedule 1 of the Act of 2012.”

The number of persons enlisted under OBC in the state after 2010 is likely to be above 500,000, a lawyer representing the petitioners said. The division bench of Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty and Justice Rajasekhar Mantha, however, clarified that citizens with OBC certificates who are already in service, or have availed the benefit of reservation or succeeded in any selection process of the state, will not be affected by the order.

The Bench said the opinion and advice of the Backward Classes Commission is ordinarily binding on the state legislature under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.

The bench directed the Backward Classes Welfare Department of the state, in consultation with the Commission, to place a report before the legislature with recommendations on inclusion of new classes or for exclusion of remaining classes in the state list of OBCs.

The division bench clarified that the executive orders of the state government classifying 66 classes of OBC before 2010 were not interfered with, since these were not challenged in the petitions. A prayer by the state for a
Speaking at an election rally, Banerjee said, “I heard a judge passed an order, who has been famous. PM has been talking about how minorities will snatch away Tapashili reservation. How can this ever happen? It would lead to Constitutional breakdown. Minorities can never touch the Tapashili or Adivasi reservation. But these mischievous people (BJP) get their work done through agencies.” The TMC came to power in 2011 and the High Court order virtually invalidates millions of OBC certificates issued by the state government.

“They got an order passed today but I don’t accept it. When 26,000 people lost their jobs because of the BJP, I had said that I would not accept it. Similarly, I am telling today, I do not accept the order today. We won’t accept BJP’s order. OBC reservation will continue. Imagine their audacity. This is a kalankit chapter in the country,” she said.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter