Times of India: Chandigarh: Friday, March 03, 2017.
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday expressed resentment and shock over the collection of caste-wise data of officials and schoolchildren in Haryana. A division bench headed by Justice S S Saron observed that if such practice was prevalent, then the caste system would never come to an end in society.
Observations from the bench came during the resumed hearing of an ongoing petition challenging reservation to Jats and five other communities under backward classes BC (C) by the state government. The court also asked the state government to verify the data related to percentage of DSPs belonging to Jat community working in the state police department.
During the hearing of the case, counsel for the petitioner claimed that around 60 per cent posts of DSPs in the police department were occupied by Jats. Though the petitioner could not produce a certified copy of the data, the court asked the state to verify it from the records. Caste-wise data of teachers working in various capacities, including principals, headmasters, postgraduate teachers, trained graduate teachers, junior basic training teachers in state government schools was also produced before the court by the petitioner, submitting that around 31-56 per cent of such posts were occupied by the members of Jat community.
Counsel for the petitioner also produced the number of students belonging to Jat community in government schools. The bench, however, was visibly upset over the caste-wise data of students and observed that dragging the schoolchildren into caste-based counting was not appropriate.
The petitioner, however, said that they had procured the data under the RTI Act. Hearing this, the bench asked the Haryana government that on one side it was claiming that it did not have any caste-wise data of employees while on the other hand the same data had been provided by it under the abovesaid Act.
The counsel for the Haryana government, however, said all data provided by the petitioners was not part of their writ petition and everyday they were coming up with new data just to prolong the issue. The counsel asserted that if they continued with that, the case would never come to an end.
Now, the case has been adjourned for Monday for further hearing.
On May 26, 2016, the HC had stayed the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Act 2016 providing reservation to Jats and five other communities under newly created BC (C) category. The new Act was stayed after hearing a petition filed by Bhiwani resident Murari Lal Gupta.
The state government had moved an application seeking vacation of May 26 orders, arguing that the petitioner had approached the HC without exhausting the available channel for redressal of his grievances.