- The Madhya Pradesh High court has stayed the state government’s ordinance increasing OBC reservation. Other Backward Class (OBC) is a collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are socially and educationally disadvantaged.
- The ordinance had increased the reservation in government jobs and university admission to the OBC category from the existing 14% to 27%
- The decision to increase reservation for OBCs had led to reservation in Madhya Pradesh reaching 63%. This has breached the 50% cap on reservation.
- The High Court’s order staying the ordinance comes in the backdrop of a plea which had alleged that the ordinance is constitutionally impermissible. The Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney case, had held that the power conferred to the State by Clause (4) of Article 16 should be exercised in a fair manner and within reasonable limits. The court upheld that reservation under Clause (4) shall not exceed 50% of the appointments or posts, barring certain extra-ordinary situations
- Article 16 (4) empowers the State to make provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is inadequately represented in public employment.
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