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HC scraps OBC status of several classes in Bengal

benefits obtained already not to be affected

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asserted that she will not accept the Calcutta High Court order

Calcutta High CourtKOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday struck down the OBC status of several classes in West Bengal, finding such reservations under an Act of 2012 to vacancies in services and posts in the state illegal.

Passing judgment on petitions challenging the provisions of the Act, the court clarified that the services of citizens of the struck-down classes, who are already in service or have availed the benefit of reservation or have succeeded in any selection process of the state will not be affected by the order.

The judgment will impact a sizeable number of people in the state, according to a lawyer involved in the matter.

The court struck down several classes for reservation as Other Backward Classes (OBC) given under The West Bengal Backward Classes (Other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) (Reservation of Vacancies in Services and Posts) Act, 2012.

In the judgement, the division bench comprising justices Tapabrata Chakraborty and Rajasekhar Mantha clarified that the executive orders of the state government classifying 66 classes of OBC before 2010 were not interfered with, since these were not challenged in the petitions.

The bench directed that the state’s executive orders classifying 42 classes as OBCs from March 5, 2010, to May 11, 2012, were also quashed, with prospective effect, in view of the illegality of the reports recommending such classification.

The bench said that the opinion and advice of the Backward Classes Commission is ordinarily binding on the state legislature under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.

The bench directed the Backward Classes Welfare Department of the state, in consultation with the Commission, to place a report before the legislature with recommendations for inclusion of new classes or for exclusion of remaining classes in the state list of OBCs.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asserted that she will not accept the Calcutta High Court order scrapping the OBC status of several classes in the state.

Addressing a poll rally at Khardah under the Dumdum Lok Sabha constituency, Banerjee said the OBC reservation will continue in the state, as the Bill concerned was passed within the framework of the Constitution.

“The OBC reservation quota introduced by the West Bengal government will continue. We had drafted the Bill after conducting a house-to-house survey, and it was passed by the cabinet and the assembly,” she said.

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