JAIPUR: The Vasundhara Raje-government on Wednesday issued a notification to include Jats of Bharatpur and Dholpur districts in the other backward classes (OBC) category that currently enjoys 21% quota in jobs and education institutes. Last week the government assured Gujjars to increase OBC quota from 21% to 26%.
The decision to include Bharatpur-Dholpur Jats in the state OBC list was taken on the basis of report submitted by the OBC Commission to chief minister Raje in June this year. Jats in rest of the state were granted OBC benefit in 1999 and have retained it till date. Bharatpur-Dholpur Jats, who were initially not considered socially backward, were granted OBC quota in 2000 but the Rajasthan high court struck it down in 2015.
Since then, Jats in the two districts were protesting to get re-included in OBC category. They threatened to launch a violent agitation on Wednesday but the state government acted swiftly and issued the notification by late evening. Cabinet approval for the decision was taken through circulation. The state government will now have to bring in a legislation within next six months to enact the quota benefit granted through notification.
Expressing happiness over the development, Congress legislator and member of Bharatpur's ex-royal family Vishvendra Singh said, "It has paved way for OBC quota to Jats in rest of the country too. We have been given the quota through a proper procedure and on the basis of a (commission's) report. Same procedure can be adopted grant OBC benefits to Jats in other states."
In March 2015, the Supreme Court struck down a Government of India notification dated March 4, 2014 through which Jats of Bharatpur-Dholpur were included in Centre's OBC list. The Bharatpur-Dholpur Jats were included in state OBC list through two separate notifications of January 1, 2000 and January 10, 2000. The Rajasthan high court struck them down from the state OBC list on August 10, 2015. The court had ordered to constitute a permanent OBC commission to review quota benefits to OBC communities.
The Centre included Jats in its OBC list through a notification dated October 27, 1999. Six days later, Rajasthan became the first state to include the community in its OBC list by a notification dated November 3, 1999. Bharatpur-Dholpur Jats were initially denied OBC status on the ground that they belonged to the ruling class in the two districts prior to India's Independence and, hence, cannot be considered socially backward. Two months later, however, the benefits were extended to them also.