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Setback for Yogi Adityanath Govt as Allahabad HC Stays Move to Include 17 OBCs in SC List

File photo of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

File photo of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

In a setback to the Yogi Adityanath administration, the Allahabad High Court on Monday stayed the government’s decision to include 17 Other Backward Castes (OBC) in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list.

Lucknow: In a setback to the Yogi Adityanath administration, the Allahabad High Court on Monday stayed the government’s decision to include 17 Other Backward Castes (OBC) in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list.

The court’s decision came on a petition filed by social activist Gorakh Prasad.

The government’s move, aimed at wooing the communities ahead of by-elections to 12 Assembly seats, came in June this year. On June 24, the government had directed district magistrates and commissioners to issue caste certificates to 17 OBCs - Kashyap, Rajbhar, Dhivar, Bind, Kumhar, Kahar, Kewat, Nishad, Bhar, Mallah, Prajapati, Dhimar, Batham, Turha, Godia, Manjhi and Machua.

The decision had been criticised even by the BJP-led central government, with Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot telling the Rajya Sabha on July 2 that the move was not in accordance with the Constitution.

Gehlot had said that if the UP government wanted to go ahead with its proposal it should follow procedure and send a proposal to the Centre.

BSP chief Mayawati had also slammed the move as "unconstitutional” and called it “politically motivated".

"No government can include or remove any caste from the Scheduled Caste list. Article 341 prevents a government from doing so. Only the President and Parliament have the powers to do so," she had said.

"Part 1 of Article 341 clearly states that the President can specify any group to the SC list through a public notification on the Governor's advice. Part 2 says that if a notification is released under part 1 of Article 341, it can only be changed by Parliament. Part 2 also states that Parliament can specify, include or exclude any group from the SC list," she had explained.

She pointed out that the notification cannot be undone by any other notification. "These castes will no longer get the benefits of quota under the OBC category. They will be treated as General castes. It is clear that Yogi government has issued this order to deceive these castes," Mayawati had alleged.

The BJP government in UP is not the first to move on the 17 most backward castes in the OBC list. In 2005, the SP government of Mulayam Singh Yadav passed the first order to include 11 of these castes but the order was stayed and the proposal sent to the Centre. Subsequently, the BSP government of Mayawati quashed the notification.

The BSP later said these castes could be included in the SC list provided the SC quota is increased. The SP government of Akhilesh Yadav cleared the inclusion proposal ahead of the 2017 assembly elections but it was challenged and is in court.

first published:September 16, 2019, 16:41 IST