Yogi’s Move failed to Pass Allahabad High Court Test

On June 24, 2019, the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh passed an order to include 17 OBC groups among the Scheduled Castes. The 17 OBC castes included- Kahaar, Kashyap, Kevat, Mallah, Nishad, Kumhar, Prajapati, Dhivar, Bind, Bhar, Rajbhar, Dhimar, Batham,Turha, Godia, Maajhi and Machhua.

This move of of Yogi Aditynath government drew sharp criticism from BSP chief Mayawati. The BSP president demanded that the state government immediately withdraw the “undemocratic order” and increase the SC quota to ensure that the category’s interests were not harmed. The Central declared too Yogi Adityanath-led UP government’s move to include 17 communities belonging to OBCs in the Scheduled Castes (SC) list as unconstitutional. However, the UP government did not withdraw the order and termed the move to be in accordance to the Allahabad High Court’s Interim order.

Allahabad High Court on 16th September has put on hold UP government’s decision of including 17 Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the Scheduled Caste (SC) list. Putting on hold the directive of Yogi Adityanath government, the court asked Principal Secretary Manoj Kumar Singh to file an affidavit. In its order, the court termed the move of UP government to be unconstitutional. The division bench of Justice Sudhir Aggarwal and Justice Rajiv Mishra said that Centre and state government has no such right and it was for Parliament to pass such orders.

Image result for allahabad high court on 17 obc
Pic courtesy: Jagran.com

How was this move Beneficial for Yogi Government?

The 17 castes that were to be included in the SC list constituted about 15% of the state’s population. Bringing the caste from OBC list to SC would mean providing more government benefits to them. Thus, it would have directly benefited the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh politically. However, it must be remembered that Yogi Adityanath’s government was not the first to attempt to include these 17 OBC castes into SC list. The previous Samajwadi government has tried the same move twice and failed.

The first attempt was initiated by Mulayam Singh Yadav during his tenure as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 2003-07. Later his son Akhilesh Yadav, as a Chief Minister in 2012-17 initiated the same same move in order to be benefited politically. During the rule of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Allahabad High Court in 2005 quashed the amendment made by his government in Uttar Pradesh Services Act, 1994. The court termed the move unconstitutional. In 2013 and 2017 when Akhilesh Yadav led UP government made an attempt the Central government rejected the proposal in both the attempta.

What does it mean for Yogi’s Government?

The Allahabad High Court’s order came as a big setback for Yogi Adityanath’s Government. BJP which has always failed to garner the votes of SC category voters was hopeful of creating a new base of SC voters for them in Uttar Pradesh. The government’s move was apparently aimed at wooing these communities ahead of by-elections to 12 Assembly seats. However, how this ruling will affect BJP in Uttar Pradesh it is for time to decide, but at present Yogi seems to failed in Court’s exam.

Nitesh Singh