The Vasundhara Raje government pushed through two bills granting 5% quota to Gujjar-led special backward classes (SBC) and 14% to economically backward classes (EBCs), in the Rajasthan Assembly, on 22 September.
The total reservation quantum had ruined the 50% ceiling twice due to the haphazard quota laws of Rajasthan. The Assembly also passed resolutions urging the Centre to place the two bills in the 9th schedule of the Constitution.
Interestingly, the decision came a day after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat had stirred a row that the quota system be reviewed.
The government hopes to prove itself by demanding the Centre to put the twin bills in the 9th schedule.
If the Raje regime passed the laws and bringing in quotas on legally unreasonable economic criteria despite knowing the difficulties, the Gujjar protests are seen as the provocation.
But it, however, puts the Centre in a catch-22 situation to heed Rajasthan’s plea as it may open the floodgates for similar pleas from other states.
It is expected that two bills will be challenged in the high court once the governor signs them. As of now, reservation in government jobs and educational institutions stand at 49% and fresh measures will stretch it to 68%.
Under pressure from Gujjars, the government in 2008 had passed SBC and EBC quotas though as part of the same bill. It was stayed by the high court in 2009 when the former Ashok Gehlot government tried to implement it.
So this year, the Raje government brought two separate bills for the two categories on the advice of legal experts and Gujjars.