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West Bengal – High Court sets aside OBC classification of 37 communities

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Kolkata. The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday set aside the classification of 37 communities as Other Backward Classes (OBC) under the West Bengal Backward Classes (Other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) (Reservation of Vacancies in Services and Posts) Act, 2012.

A division bench of Justices Tapabrata Chakraborty and Rajasekhar Mantha while cancelling such OBC certificates issued under the Act also clarified that the same would not affect those citizens who have already obtained some or the other benefit or job under the 2012 Act.

“We strike down the section 16 of the Act of 2012 since it empowers State Executive to amend any schedule of the Act of 2012. Consequently, the 37 classes included under exercise of section 16 are struck out of schedule 1 of the Act of 2012,” the bench said while pronouncing the judgment.

The bench also struck down various Executive Orders by which the State classified several communities as OBCs for granting reservations in public service.

Further, the bench also ordered the West Bengal Backward Class Welfare Department in consultation with the State Backward Class Commission, to submit a report before the State legislature with recommendation of inclusion of new classes or exclusion of remaining classes in State list of OBCs.

“The services of citizens from the 37 classes, who are already in the service of the State or have availed any reservation, or have succeeded in selection process of the State shall not be affected,” the Court clarified.

It observed that there was a complete lack of legislative policy within 2012 scheme which guides powers of State and ordered the State to lay down a legislative policy before it delegates its authority in classifying any class as OBC.

“If State desires to exercise discretion under Article 16 (4) of the Constitution, it is required to show quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation in public employment. It has to abide by the law laid down by the Supreme Court in various decisions, as it is the rule of law which the society trusts,” the Court held.

Courtesy – Bar&Bench

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