Rajasthan government plans to review 14 Muslim groups under OBC category

BJP-governed Rajasthan is considering reviewing 14 Muslim groups on its OBC list, following the Calcutta High Court’s recent removal of 77 classes, largely Muslims, classified as OBCs by Bengal’s TMC government.

“We will examine after June 4 (the LS results day, after which the model code will be lifted) if the inclusion of these (Muslim) communities in the OBC list from 1997 to 2013 was legal or illegal,” Rajasthan social justice minister Avinash Gehlot stated.

He said that reservations based on religion were wrong, citing the Calcutta High Court judgment.

Chief Minister of Rajasthan Bhajanlal Sharma accused the TMC, the INDIA alliance, and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of “crossing all limits of appeasement and committing a grave sin” by giving Muslims OBC quotas during campaigning in Lucknow.

The HC ruled on Wednesday that all new OBC categorisations in Bengal after 2010 were invalid, citing “practised protective discrimination in deviation of constitutional norms”.

The verdict effectively invalidates all OBC certificates issued by successive TMC governments since the party first took power in 2011. The court notes that within six months of Bengal declaring 10% reservation for backward Muslims in 2010, the state backward classes commission proposed 42 groups as OBCs, 41 of which were Muslim.

The judges questioned certain provisions of the West Bengal Backward Classes Act, 2012, which permitted the state government to add new categories through gazette notification to the OBC A and B lists.