The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed the Central government's petitions seeking reservation for the Jat community from nine states in the other backward class (OBC) category.
The judgment that the Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Fali Nariman pronounced on Tuesday was reserved on 17 December, 2014.
While setting aside the reservation notification, the SC Bench observed that caste cannot be the sole reason for granting OBC status as there are other factors including social backwardness that need to be considered first.
"Inclusion of politically organised castes like Jats in the OBC list is not good for other backward classes," IBNlive quoted the apex court as saying. The Bench also pointed at a flaw in Centre's decision in considering Jats for quota benefits despite OBC panel's findings that the community is not among the backward classes.
The Supreme Court ruling came in response to the petitions challenging UPA government's decision to extend reservation benefits to the Jats. In their petitions, Raksha Samiti and other petitioners had claimed that "Jats were politically and socially advanced and the decision to extend reservation to them was politically and electorally motivated," according to IANS report.
The UPA government had announced reservation under the OBC category ahead of the 2014 general elections. The decision was also supported by current Prime Minister Naredra Modi-led government which found the initiative in "public interest".
"As regards to the averments that the central government with a motive to gain benefit for the ruling political parties in the forthcoming general election issued the said notification, this fact is denied as unfounded... It is a submitted that the central government has acted bonafide and in public interest," the affidavit filed by NDA government on 11 August 2014 said.