Patna High Court Scraps 65% Reservation: A Landmark Decision

    In a landmark decision, the Patna High Court overturns Bihar's 65% reservation for backward classes, SCs, STs, citing constitutional violations and implications for social justice and meritocracy.

    In a landmark ruling, the Patna High Court on Thursday invalidated two crucial acts: The Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (Amendment) Act, 2023, and The Bihar (In admission in Educational Institutions) Reservation (Amendment) Act, 2023. These amendments were brought to change the reservation quotas in Bihar for Backward Classes, Economically Backward Classes (EBCs), Scheduled Castes (SC), and Scheduled Tribe (STs).

    Patna High Court

    Invalidation of Reservation Quota

    This effectively overturns the provision that reserved 65 percent of government jobs and places in educational institutions for the aforementioned categories. This act is quite a shift from the earlier state policy that sought to deliver social and economic justice to the afflicted groups.

    Constitutional Basis and Rationale

    These amendments the court regarded as ultra vires, or beyond the constitutional authority. They argued that these amendments were against the basic tenets of equality enshrined under Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Indian Constitution which include the Right to Equality, Prohibition of Discrimination on Grounds of Religion, Race, Caste, Sex, and Place of Birth, and Equality of Opportunity in Matters relating to Public Employment.

    Thus, by annulling these amendments the court upheld the constitution’s provisions to provide equal opportunities to all citizens irrespective of their caste or wealth.

    Implications for Bihar

    This decision will have significant consequences for Bihar’s politics and education system. It reverses the recent legislative initiatives concerning the changes of the reservation ratios back to the status of the previous reservations.

    The decision should foster further deliberations on the tensions between the enhancement of the representation of disadvantaged groups in public services and education and the promotion of meritocracy.

    Reactions and Future Steps

    After the ruling of the court, the political parties, civil society organizations and the affected communities are likely to respond and plan on what next to do. The Bihar government may wish to appeal the decision to a higher court or seek new legislative strategies to attend to social justice objectives and constitutional requirements simultaneously.

    In summary, the Patna High Court’s ruling to overturn the changes to the 65% reserve quota represents a judicial affirmation of constitutional principles. It emphasizes how crucial the court is to maintaining the fundamental ideas of justice and equality in a multicultural country such as India. The decision establishes a precedent about the extent and boundaries of state legislative authority with regard to reservations, influencing future discussions and the development of social justice policies.



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