In a clear and misguided surrender to Patidar agitators demanding reservations in jobs and education, the
Gujarat government has announced a 10 per cent quota for the economically backward among upper castes.
Those with an annual family income of less than Rs.6 lakh will be eligible.
The proposed quota is in addition to the existing 49 per cent reservations for the Other Backward Classes and SC/STs.
An ordinance is to be promulgated to this effect.
The Patidars constitute a crucial vote base and the quota signals the political failure of the various carrot-and-stick measures attempted by the State government.
Last year, Rajasthan passed a Bill providing 14 per cent reservations to the economically backward, in a move to appease upper castes. Haryana, recently also gave Jat community quota after violet protests in the state.
Supreme Court View:
In Indra Sawhney v. Union of India,the Supreme Court had limited the total quota to 50 per cent. Tamil Nadu is an exception as a constitutional amendment was passed in 1994 to allow the State to continue to set the limit for reservation at 69 per cent.
A series of judgments have established that economic criteria alone cannot be taken as determinants of backwardness.